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Emotions run high at Montana National Guard deployment ceremony

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Posted at 10:23 AM, Aug 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-09 14:56:24-04

BELGRADE - Members of the Montana National Guard will be leaving Tuesday for training in Fort Bliss, Texas and then they will head to Kuwait for their mission.

For many, this will be another deployment but for some, this is their first time leaving home.

Adam Bell is the platoon sergeant for the 163rd Combined Arms Battalion whose first deployment was to Iraq.

He says he remembers being in the shoes of the soldiers who are facing their first deployment to Kuwait.

“Right now, there's a lot of anxiety of the unknown,” said Bell. “They're afraid of the separation.”

This will be the first deployment for platoon officer Justin King who is leaving behind his family and his wife who he married in June.

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Thirty-three Montana National Guard members are being deployed to Kuwait. For many, this will be another deployment but for some, this is their first time leaving home.

“It’s a lot of uncertainty but you’re surrounded by people who make it better,” said King. “She supports me and is excited for me.”

Gathering on the Belgrade High Football field, family and loved ones heard from Governor Gianforte and leaders of the National Guard.

Gianforte gave thanks and expressed his gratitude for the men and women being deployed.

“Thank you soldiers for answering the call,” said Gianforte. “You're a part of an elite group of men and women that step up routinely to serve our state and our neighbors.”

Governor Gianforte also gave thanks to the family members and loved ones who are saying goodbye. He said they are equally as brave.

“Behind each of our brave service men and women is an equally brave and supportive family,” said Gianforte. “They allow our soldiers to serve our nation and for that, we are thankful.”

There are 33 soldiers being deployed to Kuwait with a focus on national security.

Bell says the training and time they will spend at Fort Bliss before deployment will prepare them for their duties.

He says they are enthusiastic but leaving behind loved ones is never an easy experience.

Bell says he is leaving behind his wife, Ashley.

“If I hope this goes by super-fast and I can't wait to get back home,” said Bell.

In order to ease the stress and discomfort of deployment, Bell says the National Guard family Programs are helpful.

The program supports families and guides them along their National Guard life as soldiers and family members adjust.

To find out more information on how Nation Guard Family Programs can serve you, you can visit the Montana National Guard Family Program Facebook page.