Several hundred members of the 158th Fighter Wing left Vermont Wednesday for an overseas deployment that will have them away from home for the holidays.
"We think they're going to be doing flight combat operations while they're there," said Maj. Gen. Steve Cray of the Vermont National Guard. "That's what the 158th Fighter Wing trains to do, every day."
For security reasons, the Vermont Air National Guard could not share many specifics on the terms of the deployment.
However, necn can report that a few hundred personnel will spend a several months under U.S. Central Command in a region that covers the Middle East and parts of Africa and Asia, including Iraq and Afghanistan.
Being gone during the holidays will of course be tough, but airmen and women said the close bonds of the Green Mountain Boys will make it a lot easier.
"I'm with family," said Tech. Sgt. Dan Dickerson. "Maybe not the same family that I would've been with, but I'm with people I really love and care for."
"As a Vermont Guard family, we brought holiday celebration stuff like Christmas trees, menorahs, ugly sweaters, stuff like that to lighten the mood," added Senior Airman Tara Maloney.
Vermont's governor-elect, Phil Scott, said at the deployment ceremony that Vermonters care deeply about their guardsmen and women, and will be supporting them throughout this deployment and after they return home.