Approximately 27 Soldiers with the Louisiana National Guard’s 2nd Detachment, B Company, 248th Aviation Support Battalion, bid farewell to family and friends during a deployment ceremony at the Army Aviation Support Facility #2 at Esler Field in Pineville, Oct. 1.

The Pineville-based unit departed for a one-year deployment to Kuwait where they will provide advanced aviation maintenance support to U.S. Central Command.

The emotional event saw the friends and families of the deploying Soldiers come out in support of their loved ones and to bid them farewell and a safe return.

Maj. Gen. Glenn H. Curtis, adjutant general of the LANG, addressed the families of the Soldiers during his speech.

“I want you to know how much I appreciate what you do in support of your Soldier and allowing them to serve our state and our nation,” said Curtis. “I call you our silent partners because I know that if you didn’t allow them to serve, they would cease to exist in our ranks and our guard would cease to exist and ultimately our nation would cease to exist.”

Capt. Brandon Jones, commander of the 2nd Detachment, said his unit spent the last 10 months preparing for this deployment.

“Each and every one of you will be pushed and tested during this deployment,” said Jones. “I’m confident that each of you have the capacity to get through any situation that we’ll face over the next year. I look forward to serving alongside each and every one of you.”

For some, like Spc. Dameon Edmond from Lafayette, this is their first deployment. Edmond joined when he was 17. He has been in the Guard for five years as a radio communications security repairer and isn’t quite sure what to expect.

“I’m going to take it as it comes and take it one day at a time,” said Edmond.

Spc. Tiffany Cole, a helicopter mechanic, is also deploying for the first time. She has some reservations about leaving her loved ones behind, but is ready to go.

“I’m definitely glad that I’m finally getting to go,” said Cole. “Obviously every Soldier wants to deploy at some point. I’m grateful for the opportunity.”

In 2014, Soldiers with the 248th deployed to Kuwait in support of a NATO mission.

The 248th was activated during Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, Ike and Isaac, as well as the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in 2010.

In Louisiana, the 248th provides advanced aviation maintenance support for LANG’s UH-60 Black hawks across the state.