Kentucky National Guard Aviation Unit Deploying To Middle East

Kentucky National Guard Aviation Unit Deploying To Middle East

It was an emotional ceremony as family and friends honored members of the Kentucky National Guard's 238th Aviation Unit as they prepared to deploy on a mission that will take them to the Middle East.

Friends, family and Service members of the Kentucky National Guard packed the Army Aviation Support Facility in Frankfort, Ky., July 10, to honor the Soldiers of Detachment 1, Company C, 2nd Battalion, 238th Aviation as they prepare to deploy to the Middle East.

The unit will fly UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters in support of medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) and training missions throughout the region.

The Det. 1 is a platoon sized MEDEVAC element and are attached to C. Co 2/238th out of Shelbyville, Indiana. They last deployed overseas in 2009-2010 to Kosovo.

"We have been preparing for this mission for three years," said Capt. James Caniff, Det. 1 Commander, "And I can say without a doubt we will be the most prepared and proficient unit doing this mission."

Most of the Soldiers deploying will be leaving children, including one that recently turned six months old. Chief Warrant Officer Tyler Johnson, a pilot assigned to the unit, laughed as his daughter toured the inside of a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter prior to the ceremony.

"Leaving behind your child is always extremely hard," said Johnson. "But it's a sacrifice military children have to face. I'm proud of how strong my daughters will be after enduring this."

Sgt. Heather Mehltretter, Flight Medic assigned to the unit, is leaving behind her five year old daughter. She's thankful of how much technology she will be able to use in order to stay connected to her daughter.

"I'm going to miss Cora," said Mehtretter. "But I'm happy that I will be able to use Skype or FaceTime to at least be able to see her face."

Kentucky's adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini joined Caniff in thanking the families and friends of the unit for the support and to remind the Soldiers of the quality training they have received in order to conduct the mission with the expected unbridled service of the Kentucky Guard.

The ceremony concluded with the audience joining Maj. April Brown in the tradition of singing 'My Old Kentucky Home'.

The 2-238Th will head for Fort Hood, Texas for final preparations before deploying to the Middle East.

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