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(NECN: Lauren Collins – Concord, NH) It's never easy to say good bye, especially when you know you won't see the one you love for a year.
“But I have faith in my brother and I have faith in our military and I know they'll come home and they'll do what they need to do,” says Crystal Gibeau who brought her 8-month-old son to the New Hampshire National Guard Headquarters in Concord Monday for a farewell ceremony.
The 45 soldiers of this MEDIVAC Company are off to Afghanistan. This unit's mission is to take the wounded from the battlefield and back to the base for treatment, a reminder that the war is more than just background noise.
“Anywhere we have U.S. soldiers on the ground there'll always be a need for MEDIVAC,” says unit commander Capt. Jason Richards. “You know, we take care of our own.”
Come July, there will be 160 New Hampshire National Guard members in Afghanistan. The MEDIVAC unit in particular has been overseas twice before.
This is the guard's first deployment since the Boston Marathon bombings - an event of domestic terrorism still fresh in these families’ minds and hearts.
“It was a lot closer,” says Gibeau. “It made it more real that it's starting to come here again and it's not just over there anymore.”
“I think it affected him a little bit more,” says Kelly Page, seeing off her husband, “just knowing that he's leaving and all of this is happening and he can't keep us safe.” She adds, “I’m very proud of him.”
CW2 Michael Fletcher, a helicopter pilot, was standing in formation when his toddler daughter ran up for a hug in a red, white, and blue tutu.
“It's never easy to leave your family but we know that the actions that we're all gonna go do is hopefully reunite people with their families someday so it's really that simple.”