The Vermont Army National Guard honored soldiers in a “Send Off Ceremony” on Saturday, February 3. Aviation soldiers from Company C, 3-126 Army Aviation, 86th Troop Command, Garrison Support Command, will be headed to the Middle East. They’ll be conducting air ambulance missions.
“The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them,” said Major General Gregory Knight in a speech. “Glory and danger alike. And yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.”
“Your willingness to run towards danger while most would run the other way is the strongest form of bravery,” says Vermont Governor Phil Scott (R). “That’s especially true during these uncertain times from Russia’s war on Ukraine, China’s manipulation and arrogance to continued rhetoric from North Korea and Iran.”
The medical evacuation units have been preparing for deployment for over a year.
“Statistics prove if you can stabilize and get [injured soldiers] to higher treatment within an hour, their rate of survival goes up that much more,” Knight says.
Their mission, known as CENTCOM, aims to counter extremist organizations and to deter military action by Iran.
Around 50 soldiers and six helicopters will be deployed to the Middle East. They’ll be performing medical evacuation services for international forces. But for Charlie Company, this mission isn’t completely new.
The same group was previously deployed for a similar mission back in 2018.
“This unit, working from several different locations throughout the theater of operations, flew over 250 medical evacuations during those deployments,” Vermont’s Adjutant General added. “And they didn’t drop a single mission.”
Family members of the soldiers being deployed say that they’ll miss them but are proud to see them serving their country.
“It’s gonna be a hard adjustment for a few people but it’s nothing that we can’t handle with the support chains that we have,” says Vermont National Guard soldier Joseph Marcoux.
“It’s hard, it’s hard, I guess,” says father Jeff Marcoux. “You worry. You never know what’s going to happen.”
“You can look on messenger and see he was active, like 6 hours ago it shows he’s okay,” says Jen Marcoux.
“I [will] miss him a lot,” says Nephew Hayden.
“I just got back from a deployment so it’s a bit harder for me to know I was gone for a year and we were back together for a few months and now he’s got to go back,” says wife Kaylee Hayes. “But I know he’s in good hands.”
The guard offers family counseling, financial services and a 24 hour hotline for family members of soldiers.
Charlie Company will first travel to Fort Hood, Texas for pre-mobilization processing. They’ll then be deployed to their mission.