ORONO, Maine (WABI) – 80 Maine Army National Guard soldiers are heading off for deployment to Poland.
The University of Maine hosted a sendoff ceremony for the 120th Regional Support Group.
“It’s an amazing team that we’re sending over, handpicked, and many volunteers that wanted to go because of the mission that we’re doing, said Operations Sergeant Major Alexander Clifford. “Highly professional, highly dedicated citizen soldiers that have chosen to to answer the call to serve America.”
Speakers thanked the families for supporting their soldiers.
“To ask a little bit more is a big ask especially when we’re leaving for nearly a year, but the families are ready for it, and they know what the where the resources are for them to reach out to if they need them,” Sgt. Clifford said.
One speaker referred to the citizen soldiers as “the backbone of the national security of the United States of America.”
“Our mission hasn’t changed for what we were we were sourced for over a year ago,” Sgt. Clifford said. “Previously, the unit has deployed to Afghanistan to do very similar things – provide chow halls and living accommodations and soldier support, to keep them from having to sleep on the ground and having a warm bed and a hot meal.”
This mission is just as much about assisting those in need in other countries as it is serving the soldiers’ own nation.
“Our primary focus is taking care of soldiers,” Sgt. Clifford said. “Where it will be a little different is we are partnering with NATO and the Polish government and the Polish forces, so we’re a guest in their country. Instead of trying to outrun an evil occupational force, we’re going to be there as a partnership force to help the country of Poland.”
Sgt. Clifford tells us that Maine carries a high reputation among the Armed Forces.
“Wherever I’ve gone in the world, when they find out that I’m a member of the Maine Army National Guard, there’s a certain level of of esteem and respect that comes with that, because of our work ethic and our attention to detail, and also the way that we’re dedicated to our mission and we’re able to see ahead,” Sgt. Clifford said.
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