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Deployment ceremony held as Maryland Army National Guard aviation battalion heads to Asia

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BALTIMORE -- Soldiers, family, and friends gathered Monday morning at Aberdeen Proving Ground for the deployment ceremony for Bravo Company, Third Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment, Maryland Army National Guard.

"Congratulations, do a great job, and make us proud," said U.S. Army Major General Timothy Gowen.

Gov. Wes Moore, who was a captain with the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne, was the keynote speaker.

"Thank you for stepping up when this state and the country asks. Thank you for raising your hand when it's not the easy thing to do," Moore said.

Approximately 70 soldiers and seven CH-47F Chinook helicopters will deploy to Southwest Asia.

"It's exciting. It's be my first deployment," said Captain Gerald Foster. "To go out there and support is really awesome. But coming home will be just as great."

They'll support "Operation Inherent Resolve" and "Operation Spartan Shield," conducting combat missions, cargo missions, VIP movement, and coalition missions working with foreign parties. Bravo Company has a high deployment rate.

"We're a very tight-knit unit and our families are very tight," said CW3 Joshua Chason. "So we can leave confidently and go do our mission and know that our families are taken care of, and they have a support system for all the domestic things that happen. Because pipes magically break when we're gone. Trees fall on houses. You name it, it happens."

Monday's ceremony was a chance to show gratitude.

"We can't wait for them to get home in September," said Sergeant Scott Eaton. "Couldn't be more proud of this unit."

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