SPRINGFIELD, Ky. - Friends and family members will gather at a central Kentucky church Wednesday to say goodbye to 15 Kentucky National Guard members leaving for Afghanistan.
As part of Operation Enduring Freedom, members of the 613th Engineer Facilities Detachment are mobilizing from their home base of Springfield, Kentucky for what’s expected to be a yearlong mission. The unit will assist NATO troops in transitioning facilities to the Aghan National Army and Afghan National Police.
“Ultimately what that means is that if we are going to be able to assist the nation of Afghanistan in the long-term fight and struggle toward independence and their ability to secure their people against terrorist activities, Taliban influence and things of that nature, then they are going to have to have suitable facilities to train forces out of,” says Col. Steve King. The 613th includes both full-time soldiers and members that have civilian jobs. Many have seen previous tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, but this tour mission marks the first overseas deployment for Col. King. “We do have a wide range of experience and I think we’re going to be able to bring a lot to the mission over there.” Before starting their mission in Afghanistan, the soldiers will first train at Fort Bliss, Texas.
According to officials nearly 400 Kentucky National Guard troops are currently serving in Afghanistan and around the world.