Send-off held for Wisconsin Army National Guard troops

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- 79 Wisconsin Army National Guard soldiers said goodbye to their family, friends, and loved ones on Wednesday, April 2nd as they prepared to deploy to Afghanistan.

The Alpha Battery, 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery Regiment left for Fort Bliss Texas on Wednesday, where they will continue training for several weeks before deploying overseas.

Once in Afghanistan, the Alpha Battery will provide high mobility artillery rocket system support and combat artillery fire support.

Gov. Scott Walker was among those who wished them well at a send-off ceremony Wednesday morning. Hundreds of families, friends and other military members were also present to offer their support as the soldiers prepared to leave for their nearly 10 month mission.

“These guys are going into a combat zone with a combat mission, they are leaving their families, they are leaving their lives behind, a lot of these guys are in school, they have jobs on the civilian side, and it`s important to show them we appreciate their service and understand the sacrifices they are making for our country,” said First Lt. Joe Trovato with Wisconsin National Guard.

Some of the men are deploying for the first time. Others, 28 of the 79, are leaving for their second or third tour overseas. They're scheduled to return in February 2015. It is the unit’s third deployment. The previous deployments were in 2006-2007 for Iraq and 2009-2010 also for Iraq.