65 Conn. Soldiers Deploying to Kuwait and Afghanistan | NECN
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65 Conn. Soldiers Deploying to Kuwait and Afghanistan

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    65 Connecticut soldiers will be deploying overseas. (Published Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015)

    Sixty-five Connecticut soldiers are deploying to Fort Hood in Texas Sunday for a month of training before heading to Kuwait and Afghanistan for nearly a year.

    The 1109th Theatre Aviation Sustainment Maintenance Group (TASMG) is based out of Groton and they're headed overseas to provide rotary wing maintenance for Blackhawk helicopters damaged in battle.

    “We are the folks who get there and do the heavy maintenance, the heavy sheet metal," Col. Vincent Vannoorbeck, unit commander, said.

    About a third of the troops are deploying for the first time and many members have done so before.

    "We bring in a lot of different experience levels and that's how you get experience. you have to go out there and put boots on the ground," Vannoorbeck said. "I think it's going to be good for them. We've got some really dynamic leaders. I think it's going to be a good deployment."

    Emotions ran high for the troops and their families.

    "It's sad," SSG Jayme Holt, of Waterford, said.

    Some have been through this before three or four times.

    SSG Travis Troop, of Clinton, said "I don't think there's nearly the amount of heartache."

    But Sgt. Alexander Robinson hasn't deployed before, so he said, "I'm nervous. I'm excited."

    The Plainfield resident said goodbye to his mom, dad girlfriend and children, but he's brought back-up. His brother, PFC Justin Wolkowsky will join him in this deployment.

    “We’re nervous as can be," their father, George Robinson, of Plainfield, said. "It’s our only two kids so it’s kind of nerve-wracking.”

    Their mother, Laura Robinson said "it's been a hard thing to deal with, knowing that they're both going to be gone. It's comforting knowing they'll both be together."

    SSG Jaimie Troop, of Clinton, knows what it's like to serve with family. She was deployed with her mother and husband in 2012. This time, her family is holding down the fort back home.

    "It's good to know that my daughter will have my husband and my mom at home still," she said.

    Their experience in the military may be different, but both soldiers share a common goal.

    "Coming home," Troop said.

    Sgt. Alexander Robinson is looking forward to "getting home, seeing my kids."

    Troop said "hopefully we'll be very busy and the time will go by fast."

    Their deployment is expected to last nine months.

    The same unit was sent to Afghanistan back in 2012.  Many of them say it's tough, especially if they're leaving behind young children.

    Family members are in Windsor Locks Sunday to see them off.

    They will be the fourth Connecticut Army National Guard unit deployed so far this year. This year, 240 Army National Guard troops from Connecticut have been deployed, 100 of those to Afghanistan.