Story by SSG Zane Craig on 09/05/2019FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa. Pennsylvania National Guard members with Bravo Company and Delta Company, 2nd General Support Battalion, 104th Aviation Regiment, 28th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade, 28th Infantry Division, participated in a deployment ceremony Sept. 5 as they prepare for mobilization to the Middle East as part of Operation Freedom's Sentinel.
Family, friends, fellow Soldiers and distinguished guests, including Governor Tom Wolf and other elected officials, gathered in the 28th ECAB headquarters here to say goodbye and wish the 53 deploying Soldiers well.
"The nation and commonwealth have asked much of you and your families during your service in the National Guard," said Maj. Gen. Tony Carrelli, Pennsylvania's adjutant general. "We are proud of you all and ask once again that you put family and careers aside to defend freedom for America and her allies. We are here to support your families while you are gone and anxiously await for your safe return next year."
The mobilizing companies will support aviation operations within the Middle East. The Soldiers are based out of Fort Indiantown Gap and Johnstown, but come from all over the commonwealth and neighboring states. They will first travel to Texas to conduct pre-mobilization training.
"For some of the 53 sons and daughters in this formation, this is their first combat deployment, for others it is their third or fourth trip overseas in support of the Global War on Terror," said Lt. Col. Jeffry Milchanowski, 2-104th GSAB commander. "No matter how many times we deploy, leaving is never easy."
Operation Freedom's Sentinel (OFS) is part of the Global War on Terrorism and is the official name for the mission succeeding Operation Enduring Freedom. Terrorist groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda still function in the OFS area of operations and remain a threat to international stability, peace and safety.
"You can be comforted knowing that all 53 Soldiers in this formation have spent the past year preparing for this mission," said Milchanowski.
Bravo Company Soldiers operate CH-47 Chinook helicopters and Delta Company Soldiers provide aviation maintenance.
Founded in 1747, the PNG is the second largest National Guard in the nation and is comprised of more than 18,000 Soldiers and Airmen, who reside in every county across the commonwealth and are always ready to support the warfight abroad and respond to disasters at home.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Please contact Lt. Col. Keith Hickox (717) 861-6254, or e-mail email@example.com