AFTON, Wyoming (KIFI/KIDK) - "I've wanted to join the Army since I was a tiny little guy, so it honestly means a lot to me," said Christian Soles, a soldier being deployed. "I get to go out there and help represent the United States in a way not a lot of people get to."
The Charlie Company of the Wyoming National Guard said farewell to soldiers being deployed Tuesday. This is the first time the Wyoming Infantry Unit has deployed since organizing in 2016. The group consists of men and women ranging from ages, 18-46.
Captain Eli Varney of the Charlie Company said, "So for this deployment, we will be going to Kosovo, we will be conducting peacekeeping operations, Wyoming will be sending two platoons over that will consist of about 223 soldiers that will be going over."
The first platoon will consist of about 60 soldiers who will be conducting border patrol with the Serbian Armed Forces and Kosovo Border Patrol. Their intent is to build better relationships with these groups. The second platoon will do more in-depth relationship building, meeting with mayor's and discussing how they can help with basic needs, like water, sewer and electric.
"The amazing part of this unit is that they're almost all volunteers," Varney said. "When Charlie Company first stood up, they needed infantrymen to come over, or people who wanted to be infantry. So we basically sent out information saying, who wants to be infantry and only people who wanted to, came over here, they weren’t forced to, it wasn’t their only option."
The soldiers spent their day cherishing the last moments with their friends and family, who attended their farewell in Afton. Now, they embark on their 9-month peacekeeping mission.
“It means a lot to us to have him represent the United States and to have him go overseas and to serve for our nation.”
The soldiers will spend three weeks in Fort Bliss in Texas, three weeks in Germany at the JMRC Training facility and then nine months in country.