Friends and family of the Illinois Army National Guard, 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry, including Charlie Company in Litchfield, said good-bye to the 400-some citizen soldiers who are headed to Afghanistan during a ceremony at Banterra Center in the Southern Illinois University in Carbondale campus on Tuesday, Jan. 21.
The guard unit is headquartered in Marion, with four armories in Litchfield, Effingham, Mt. Vernon and West Frankfort.
Among those at the send-off ceremony was Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who praised the soldiers as "a force of ordinary citizens committed to extraordinary work."
Typically, guard members train one weekend a month and two weeks a year–until deployment.
The guard unit headed for Fort Bliss in Texas for a month of training before an expected deployment to the Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan for nine to ten months.