(Host) In Bennington this afternoon, citizens lined the bitter cold streets to give their departing National Guard troops a sendoff.
(Host) Approximately 75 National Guards members boarded buses and cars at the Bennington Armory.
They headed to Camp Johnson in Colchester. There they joined a force of about 350 troops who will leave Friday ) for Camp Atterbury, Indiana, for two months’ training prior to leaving for Afghanistan.
Among the troops leaving the Bennington Armory were at least two father-and-son teams.
Nineteen-year old Private First Class Zak Burke of Bennington will join his father, Tom. The elder Burke had retired from the military but re-enlisted to be part of his son’s first deployment.
Zak Burke says it’s not that unusual.
(Burke) "There’s mothers and sons in some other units. There’s uncles and cousins."
(Host) Out on the street, Amy Julius and her family held back tears as the buses rolled by.
(Julius) "I have my Uncle Roger Livingston and Andrew Hall, they’re going overseas today. I’m glad for what they’re doing but they’re leaving us behind. And I hope they’ll be home for Christmas and I hope they come home safe."
(Host) Many of the soldiers will be back for Christmas before leaving for Afghanistan.
The Guard units leaving Vermont (tomorrow / today / Friday ) are from armories in St. Albans, Swanton, Enosburg, Newport and Lyndonville, as well as Bennington.
Photos byKevin Bubriski