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Arizona National Guard unit prepares for deployment to Middle East

(Twitter/@Ali_Vetnar)

PHOENIX — An Arizona National Guard unit is preparing to serve its very first deployment overseas.

The 198th Regional Support Group will be deploying Sunday in support of U.S. Army Central Command. The unit will spend approximately a year in the Middle East.

Maj. Gen. Michael T. McGuire spoke to a room full of the friends, and family of the men and woman being deployed from Papago Park Military Reservation on Friday.

“We are going to deploy a full colonel and 0-6 headquarters to manage all the logistics for the Southern area of the Arabian Peninsula,” McGuire said.

“We will be supporting all soldiers, airman, sailors, and marines in theater.”

This is the group’s first deployment in support of overseas contingency operations.

The deployment of the 198th Regional Support Group marks the third of soldiers from the Arizona Army National Guard since January to support overseas contingency operations.

Staff Sgt. Vanessa Lupercio is among the soldiers who will be deployed and describes it as being particularly emotional for her.

“My husband and I are being deployed together,” she said. “We are very excited to support our state of Arizona and the Army National Guard.”

The Arizona National Guard has supported more than 13,000 individual deployments since Sept. 11, 2001.

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