400 Arizona National Guard soldiers to deploy to Middle East for a year

Nearly 400 Arizona Army National Guard soldiers prepared for a year-long deployment overseas Saturday with a special ceremony.

Gov. Doug Ducey attended the deployment ceremony in Tempe at the Wells Fargo Arena as soldiers stood at attention.

The 1st Battalion 158th Infantry Regiment deploys Sunday to the Middle East in support of Operation Spartan Shield. While there, they will conduct security force operations.

“It’s my honor and privilege to wish you well on behalf of all Arizonans,” said Ducey.

Gov. Ducey was the keynote speaker and also thanked family members of the battalion.

Logan Wiemers and her family came to support their family member Sgt. Andrew Wiemer

“We’ve got dad, brother, sister, our mother-in-law. We have a lot of family which makes it nice,” said Lorie Wiemers.

But it’s not easy, especially for 11-year-old Grace Wiemers, who worries for father’s safety.

“His friend died in the war and I’m really scared,” said Grace Wiemers.

It’s an astounding sacrifice, only made easier by the soldiers’ support systems back home.

© 2018 KPNX

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