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Fifty Louisiana Guardsmen heading to Afghanistan

Posted at 10:44 AM, Sep 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-08 11:44:37-04

The Louisiana National Guard’s G Company and D Company, 2nd Battalion, 238th Aviation Regiment held a deployment ceremony at the Army Aviation Support Facility #2 at Esler Field in Pineville, Sept. 6.

More than 50 Guardsmen, including two father-son teams and one married couple, are scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan starting this week. Including premobilization training at Fort Hood, the soldiers will be away from home for nearly one year. Once overseas, they will provide air movement support and medical evacuation support to ground forces.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards presided over the ceremony in Pineville.

“I just want you to know, as a fellow American and as an Army Veteran, how immensely proud I am to call you my brothers and my sisters. There is no nobler calling than that of a soldier protecting life and liberty,” said Edwards. “As a fellow Louisianan and as governor of a great state, I cannot be more confident that you will execute your mission because you’re well trained, you’re well lead, and you’re disciplined.”

“To those soldiers deploying I tell you all the time you’re my favorite Americans, and you are because you answer the call over and over again,” said Maj. Gen. Glenn H. Curtis, adjutant general of the LANG. “We’ve been in this war for almost 19 years, and a lot of you have deployed multiple times; you just keep stepping up to the plate. Take care of each other.”

Father-son team, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Ricky Caldwell and Spc. Jacob Caldwell of Dry Prong, are one of two father-son teams deploying with the 2-238th. Ricky, a pilot with G Co., is on his second deployment with the LANG. Jacob, a crew chief with G Co., is deploying for the first time.

“It’s strange and comforting to be deploying with my dad, but at the same time it’s not because we will both be gone,” said Jacob. “I’m looking forward to using all of my training and getting to do my job.”

“It’s going to be different this time having him with me and leaving a gap here at home while we are both gone. I’m proud of him; he’s done great things,” said Ricky. “We all are close knit in this unit, so it’s one big family with us from the E-1 all the way up to the O-4.”

This will be the 2-238th’s third overseas deployment since 9/11. The aviation unit is also a key part of state emergency operations and has provided search and rescue, air evacuations and support for almost every state emergency, including: Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Harvey, Shreveport forest fires, marsh fires in New Orleans, the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and the multiple floods of 2016.