Third Battalion, 172nd Infantry (Mountain), 86th Brigade Infantry Combat Team (Mountain) held a sendoff ceremony Jan. 29 at the Camp Ethan Allen Training Site Parade Field in Jericho, Vermont.
About 350 Soldiers with the Vermont Army National Guard will join about 200 Soldiers from New Hampshire, Connecticut and Colorado and deploy to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility as part of Task Force Avalanche.
“The Soldiers of the Mountain Battalion have worked very hard to prepare for this deployment,” said Maj. Gen. Greg Knight, Vermont National Guard adjutant general. “They are among the best trained Soldiers in the Army National Guard, and have earned this opportunity. Vermonters should be proud of them and their continued service to our state and nation.”
The unit has been preparing for their deployment to U.S. Central Command for more than a year.
"These Soldiers raise their right hand in order to serve their community and nation," said Col. Brey Hopkins, 86th IBCT (MTN) commander. “They are among the first out the door of almost 2,000 brigade Soldiers across six states deploying in the next four months. They are all proud, professional citizen-Soldiers, and we want to ensure our family members that the full resources of the state of Vermont and the Department of Defense are here to support you in their absence."
In a joint statement, Sen. Patrick Leahy, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Peter Welch said:
“We appreciate the service of our soldiers and their families, who serve along with them. We are also grateful for their employers and friends who will be supporting them back home. As they go forward, we want them to know Vermonters have their back, and our offices stand ready to help them and their families in any way we can.”
Vermont Gov. Phil Scott also provided a statement:
"I, along with all Vermonters, offer my deep appreciation and gratitude to the Vermont National Guard Soldiers who are deploying to the U.S. Central Command. Their service and sacrifice, as well as the dedication of their families, is an inspiration to us all. To the Soldiers deploying: Vermonters are with you, we're proud of you, and admire your commitment to our state and nation."
The Vermont National Guard Family Programs office stands ready to support the families of Soldiers while they are deployed. Family Programs offers tax preparation services, financial counseling, Veteran outreach, a 24-hour hotline and much more. Unit family members are encouraged to reach out to their Family Programs Representative at any time.
The 3-172nd (MTN) will depart from the Army Aviation Flight Facility in South Burlington, Vermont, in early February.