Hundreds of family members, friends and well-wishers are expected to pack Macon High School at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 15 as the town prepares to bid farewell to local National Guardsmen bound for Afghanistan.
More than 120 Soldiers of the Macon-based 1438th Engineer Company will depart for a year-long deployment to southern Afghanistan where they will spend 10 months dismantling the numerous temporary, modular bridges built by the U.S. and British militaries throughout Operation Enduring Freedom.
"Our mission is part of the U.S. commitment to pull out of Afghanistan by next year," said Capt. McClellan H. Gaono-Taiese, the 1438th commander. "The majority of our time will be spent tearing down these bridge sections and preparing them for shipment back to the United States."
The 1438th conducted its pre-deployment mission training at Camp Crowder, near Neosho. The unit will now travel to Fort Dix, N.J. before heading to Afghanistan and is slated to return home in spring 2014.
The 1438th Engineer Company consists of nearly 200 Soldiers and is a subordinate unit of the Cape Girardeau-based 1140th Engineer Battalion.