The 140 soldiers of the "Wolfpack" left Northern Minnesota Sunday for Ft. Hood Texas on their way to eastern Afghanistan. The Duluth News Tribune reports they received a warm sendoff from hundreds of family and friends at Chisholm High School on Saturday.
After training in Ft. Hood, the Duluth-based 114th Transportation Company will help deliver supplies to forward bases in Afghanistan, and assist with the eventual drawdown of troops. The soldiers are scheduled to return home next fall.
Nearly half the unit has been deployed before, most recently in 2009. Spc. James Woods, 24, of Forest Lake, Minn said this time he's packing things to distract him , such as lots of movie DVDs.
“Anything that gets you out of that setting for at least an hour,” he said.
WDIO reports that many returning soldiers are counting on technology to keep them connected with family at home. Staff Sergeant David Wolf is going for the third time, but now they're planning to Skype regularly.
"It's so nice to actually see someone's face again and connect the voice back to it," he said.
"You feel like a kid again on Christmas," Brianne Wolf said.
Staff Sergeant Joshua Rice will be leaving his newborn son. He said it's his fourth and most difficult deployment.
"It's more personal, just holding something so small in your hands and knowing you have to leave it right away. It's the best thing that ever happened to you and you have to leave it," Rice said.
The Minnesota National Guard website has pictures of the 114th during their last deployment.