Host) The top military commander in the country will visit Vermont this week to participate in a departure ceremony for National Guard troops.
Admiral Mike Mullen will be one of the speakers on Friday as about 200 members of the Vermont Guard leave for training before their deployment to Afghanistan.
As chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mullen has participated in deployment ceremonies at active-duty military bases.
But Captain John Kirby says Mullen also wanted to honor National Guard troops.
(Kirby) "This is an opportunity to express his gratitude for not only what this unit has done – because you know they have deployed to the war zone in the past – but for what they’re about to do, which is to deploy to Afghanistan. And that is where the main effort of the military is right now. And I think it’s critically important for the chairman. He wanted to send that message of thanks personally, not just to them, but their families, who sacrifice, as well."
(Host) A total of 1,500 National Guard members are being deployed to Afghanistan for a year. It’s the largest deployment of the Vermont National Guard since World War Two.
Three different contingents of the Guard are leaving this week for training in advance of their deployment.