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Feb 27, 2016 9:10 PM

The 197 Field Artillery Brigade of the NH National Guard honored at a send-off


HOOKSETT - Ninety-three proud and ready NH Army National Guardsmen were joined by friends and family as they were honored by Gov. Maggie Hassan and members of the state's Congressional delegation at a ceremony before heading overseas.

Sixty-one of theme have deployed before, and their loved ones couldn't be more proud.

"He's honorable, and he's doing this for our country to keep us safe and to keep our values," said Iris Hall, referring to her father, Steve Hall, a guardsman for the 197th Field Artillery Brigade. "It's the second deployment that I can remember...but it's still hard, really hard."

Hall joined the military in 1989. "When I first went, I lived in a Radley and ate beefaroni three-times-a-day for a month...it wasn't very good," he said.

This will be Hall's fifth assignment sending him out of the country, and he always brings a special something with him for good luck.

"Mom and Dad actually bought me a trinket when I first joined the Army," said Hall, "It's a St. George's medallion, so the patron saint of cavalry," he explained.

For many, this will be their first deployment, but it is an experience all too familiar.

"My family's been in the military...it runs in the family pretty much" says Bank Wutisen, who is deploying for the first time.

Whether it's their first time or fifth time, being away in a foreign place never gets easier.

"Family, I'll miss my wife and my kids you know, being able to spend time with them" said Hall.

It's an emotional send-off for the families as they prepare for a sacrifice of their own.

"It puts a lot of strain on the immediate family" said Jay Bouchard whose brother-in-law was in the ceremony. "All the extended family tried to help out as best as they can" he said.


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