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National Guardsmen deploy for special mission in Afghanistan

June 24, 2004
By: Megan Clarke
State Capital Bureau

Sixteen National Guardsmen leave Mid-Missouri on a special mission to bring peace to a war-savaged country. Megan Clarke tells us about this unique unit and their uncommon mission.


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They call themselves the Sweet Sixteen.. Sixteen fathers, husbands, sons and brothers being sent off to defend their country.

They join their families and friends who came to see them off at the Missouri National Guard Armory in Jefferson City.

Officer in Charge Major Scott Englund dedicated 18 years to the service, but still isn't quite ready to for his first deployment.

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I'M OKAY WITH IT ALL. I'VE HAD 18 YEARS TO THINK ABOUT THIS TYPE OF THING AND PREPARE MYSELF FOR IT, BUT YOU'RE STILL NEVER QUITE READY.

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National Guard chose them for their experience and skills to complete a special mission. While the specifics are unknown, these men were chosen to be part of a unique embedded training team.

All they know is they will now assist a country that once housed Al-Quida terrorists, a place where Osama Bid Laden called home.

Training Officer Major Hadley Turner:

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WE KNOW THAT THEY WILL BE WORKING TO HELP TRAIN THE AFGHANISTAN NATIONAL ARMY IN COMBAT SERVICE SUPPORT ROLES TEACH THEM THE WAY THE UNITED STATES ARMY DOES COMBAT SERVICE SUPPORT.

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The unit will be in Indiana for about the next 90 days for training. Once in Indiana, the unit will learn the specifics of the mission.