Emotions ran high as 22 members of a South Dakota National Guard Unit, responsible for aircraft maintenance, are activated for duty.
Soldiers from the 935th Support Battalion are headed for a year–long tour to Kuwait in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The unit will first report to Fort Hood, Texas, to complete two months of theater–specific training prior to deployment overseas.
They specialize in maintenance and repair of rotary-wing aircraft including the Black Hawk, Kiowa, Chinook, and all new Lakota helicopters.
Governor Dennis Daugaard was a special guest at the ceremony today, telling of his own experiences from traveling to Kuwait and thanking the members for their services.
"By keeping our machinery safe, they keep our airmen and soldiers who travel in them safe," said the Governor in an interview afterwards.
The service men and women about to leave are hesitant to leave their families behind for such a long time, but are still excited to serve their country.
"We're excited to go out and do our jobs, be able to work on aircraft, go fly them. It's all part of a job we signed up to do," said John Wurtz, commander of the battalion.
This is the second mobilization for 935th.
They deployed to Iraq in 2004–2005 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.