By Danielle Chavira

PARKER, Colo. (CBS4) – Gov. Jared Polis celebrated members of Colorado’s National Guard at a departure ceremony in Parker on Tuesday. The soldiers from the CONG’s Aerial Medical Evacuation unit are on their way to the Middle East.

(credit: CBS)

Colorado Congressman Jason Crow, a veteran himself, also attended the ceremony.

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About 60 aviators, maintainers and logisticians from the 1st Battalion 168th Aviation Regiment will help during aerial medical evacuation missions in support of Operation Inherent Resolve and Operation Spartan Shield.

(credit: CBS)

“Thank you to the families and employers for the continued support of our service members during a time when the Guard has been called on more than ever before,” the Adjutant General of Colorado U.S. Army Force Brig. Gen. Laura Clellan said.

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The soldiers’ families shared some tearful “see you laters.”

“To put their lives on hold, to do this for all of us everything they are doing to go over and try to make a difference, and our son has always wanted to go since his dad went,” said Mary, a mother of one of the soldiers.

(credit: CBS)

Members of the unit have experience in high country search and rescue missions as well as wildland firefights in Colorado.

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The unit will join units from New Mexico and will be deployed for more than a year.

Danielle Chavira