The state of Illinois is sending their greatest contingent of National Guard soldiers in regarding a decade to Afghanistan.
Approximately 400 soldiers with the 178th Infantry Regiment left over the weekend. They will stop in Texas for training, then they are going to spend the next year or in Afghanistan as a part of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.
It’s the very first time Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has sent troops overseas. And it’s the biggest deployment to Afghanistan for the Illinois Guard in nearly 10 years.
“Serving as Commander and Chief of Illinois’ citizen soldiers is a humbling endeavor for me because you represent the very best of this state,” Pritzker claimed over the weekend. “The service you and your families give every day to the people of Illinois, that service to protect this nation, will always be a source of inspiration and respect .”
The 178th is essentially dependent in the Chicago area, however, members from as far south as Joliet and as far north as Woodstock are also part of the regiment.
Lt. Co. Matt Garrison claimed the troops are going to be giving security for coalition forces in Afghanistan.
“Know that this unit and this battalion is ready to meet the mission in Afghanistan,” Garrison said. “We have the training, we have the right personnel, and we have the tools to achieve the mission.”
Garrison claimed the soldiers are going to spend about a year in Afghanistan.