By Don Branum
Vermont National Guard Public Affairs
The 172nd Law Enforcement Detachment departed from Burlington International Airport Jan. 26 for Fort Bliss, Texas, as the first step of their deployment in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel under U.S. European Command.
During a sendoff ceremony Jan. 25, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott and Maj. Gen. Greg Knight, Vermont’s adjutant general, assured the detachment’s Soldiers that the Guard and the state would take care of their families while they support the nation.
“If it weren’t for a recent COVID-19 exposure, I’d be proudly standing with you today and giving you the sendoff you deserve,” Scott said via a prerecorded video. “I’m sure it’s not easy leaving your family and friends, especially in the middle of a pandemic that’s completely changed our lives over the past year. I can assure you, while you do your part to keep us safe, we’ll continue to do ours by supporting and protecting your families while you’re away.”
Knight echoed the governor’s remarks.
“Just know that we’re here for you. We’ve got resources,” Knight said, referring to Vermont National Guard Family Programs. “We’ll be here when you need us, so don’t hesitate to call.”
As Soldiers unloaded from their bus and checked their bags at the airport Jan. 26, some took a few private moments to say goodbye to their families.
“I’m ready to go, but I’m going to miss my kids,” Sgt. 1st Class Charlie Winn, the detachment first sergeant, told local TV news reporters. Gesturing to his children, he added, “I’m hoping this one is good, that this one does her schoolwork, and that that one doesn’t get bigger than me before I get home.”
The detachment is scheduled to return from its deployment in early 2022.