Friends, family send off 85 National Guard members

Friends, family send off 85 National Guard members

Hundreds of friends and family members attended a sendoff at Madison College Saturday for 85 members of the Wisconsin National Guard.

The First Battalion’s 147th Aviation is being sent to the Middle East and is expected to return in January.

Although it was tough for soldiers and their families to say goodbye, many of them said the community support helps.

“Without the support of the community, the employers and the family, we simply couldn’t do what we do for the country,” Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar said.

The deployed soldiers are proficient in aircraft maintenance, refueling operations and operating the UH-60 Black Hawk.

One soldier took a piece of his family with him – a puzzle piece necklace that interlocks with the other pieces his wife Melanie, daughter Samantha and son TJ wear around their necks to spell “love.”

“Just having a piece of something with me at all times to think back to my family is just a great reminder of why we do what we do and who’s back home supporting us,” said Troy Kleinheinz, who has served in the National Guard for 16 years.