Kentucky National Guard deploys more than 325 troops to Iraq

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Story by Capt. Stephen Martin, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs
Photos by Maj. Ben Singleton, 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade Public Affairs Officer

See more pictures of the ceremony at:  Click here for more photos

1204th ASB Departure Ceremony

INDEPENDENCE, Ky--Friends and family cheer on Kentucky's 1204th Combat Aviation Battalion as they prepare to deploy to Iraq in support of Operation New Dawn.

INDEPENDENCE, Ky. — The Kentucky National Guard honored the 1204th Aviation Support Battalion with a departure ceremony as they left for Iraq today from the Northern Kentucky University Campus in Highland Heights, Ky.

“Our morale is very high,” said Command Sgt. Major Tim Walton. “We’ve been training for this day since December of 2009 and we’re ready to go accomplish this mission.”

Based in Independence, Ky., the 1204th ASB will provide logistical, maintenance and signal support for the 29th combat aviation brigade in support of Operation New Dawn, the U.S. Forces withdrawal from Iraq.

Spc. Matt Dornbusch, who’s been in the Kentucky Guard since 2007, has been supporting the unit in a full-time capacity for the last 18 months, helping to prepare the Soldiers for the deployment.

“I’m eager to finally get to do the mission we’ve worked so hard to prepare for,” said Dornbusch. “My wife is sad and excited for me at the same time.”

Dornbusch and his wife Katie Elizabeth got married less than a month ago and plan on taking their honeymoon after the deployment.

1204th ASB Departure Ceremony

INDEPENDENCE, Ky--A Soldier from the 1204th Aviation hugs his kids goodbye at the departure ceremony.

Katie also has a brother, Spc. Adam Stoppelwerth, who will deploy with the 1204th as well.

The 1204th is made up of nearly 600 Soldiers from Kentucky, Alabama, Florida and Maryland, with approximately 325 from the Commonwealth.

The unit reports to Fort Hood, Tx. for an additional four to six weeks of training prior to departing the country.

Lt. Col. Tom Roach is the battalion commander for the 1204th ASB and has prepared the unit for their task ahead.

1204th ASB Departure Ceremony

INDEPENDENCE, Ky--Lt. Col. Tom Roach, commander of Kentucky's 1204th Aviation Battalion, asks attendees at the departure ceremony to applaud the families and supporters of the Soldiers.

“It’s an uncertain environment right now in Iraq,” said Lt. Col. Roach, “but one of the great things about our robust, flexible organization is that we’re ready and adaptable to do our job where ever we’re asked to serve.”

Since 9/11, nearly 14,000 Kentucky National Guard Soldiers and Airmen have deployed in support of the Global War on Terror. The Kentucky National Guard currently has more than 1,450 troops deployed worldwide.

See more pictures of the ceremony at: Click here for more photos

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