Ashland National Guard Prepare For Deployment

ASHLAND, Wisc. – About 80 men and women from the Ashland National Guard prepared for their deployment to the Middle East Thursday morning.

They dropped off their gear in the armory along with laptops, books and other comfort items to remind them of home.

“It’s very difficult, but I’m proud of them. And I’m happy for the opportunity that they get to serve our country,” Mother, Susan Hitchcock says.

The 829th Engineering company is full of plumbers, carpenters and electricians.

According to their training Sargent, only a handful of them are from the Ashland area.

“I’m excited for the people that haven’t deployed. Especially my soldiers- just teaching them all the fun stuff we’re going to learn,” Staff Sgt. Jonathan Hitchcock says.

Staff Sargent Hitchcock serves with his two brothers in the National Guard.

While military service bonds the brothers, their mom says they’ll be missing big family events back home in Wisconsin.

“There probably going to miss three weddings in 2020. I have eight children, and three of them are getting married and they are going to miss them,” Susan Hitchcock says.

But the sacrifices are worth it.

Staff Sergeant Hitchcock is shipping off for his second tour, and he says this time is different because he is taking on a leadership role- with a little more wisdom under his belt.

“I think I was excited because I was young and leaving. I thought I knew everything. Turns out I definitely didn’t,” Staff Sgt. Hitchcock says.

The troops in this detachment usually deploy every five years, and a lot can change in that time. Just ask Sargent First Class Craig Montry.

“The last two times I’ve been married. And this one I have two children. So a little different feeling,” Sgt. First Class, Craig Montry says.

After meeting for coffee and donuts provided by the Chequamegon VFW, they gathered their things on the buses, and were escorted down main street with a motorcade.

“I’m gonna miss them with everything in me. And I’m gonna be a mess on Saturday when I say goodbye,” Susan Hitchcock says.

For some soldiers though this more like, “see you in a year.”

“I’m not a huge fan of goodbyes. I think goodbye is permanent. I know I’m coming back as well as all these troops who are currently deploying with us,” Sgt. First Class, Craig Montry says.

The troops will have one final send–off on Saturday located at the Spooner High School at 11 a.m.

From there, the troops will ship out to multiple different countries in the middle east.

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