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Although U.S. combat has ended, a small group of Michigan National Guard soldiers will leave Thursday for a year long tour in Iraq.
Ceremonies were held in Taylor for the 13 Guardsmen and women from the 777th Military Police detachment in Taylor. They are off to Iraq for a 12-month tour of duty.
They will among 600 Michigan National Guardsmen now deployed across the globe.
Lots of tears and hugs among guard members, family and friends who attended Thursday’s event.
Members of the Patriot Riders served as color guards and escourt forn the guardsmen. Guardsman Antonio Allen of Belleville isn’t even on the bus yet.
“Kinda homesick already,” he said, laughing. “I’ll miss my mother and her homecooking, my dad and the advice he gives me, but I’m excited about going, the opportunity be able to serve my country.”
His Mother Emery Allen is like other military moms watching the sons head off on their first deployment…
“I’m happy for him, he excited about serving, I’m hopeful, I just him to be safe and come back home to us,” she said.
Major Steven McGee, commander of the 777th Military Police deatchment, will be on his fourth deployment.
“It will be hard not being able to relax on Sunday and watch football…it’s the little things you miss,” he said.
Margaret Fernly of Ann Arbor, a student at Eastern Michigan University, says the homesickness may not sink in for awhile.
“I’m excited, I think it will give me a lot of world experience, it will be humbling…to see how they live, make me feel more appreciative about we have over here,” she said.
They will have two weeks of intense training at Fort Bliss Texas before being deployed overseas in Baghdad.
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