Wyoming infantry set for deployment to Kosovo

By Spc. Kristina Kranz, 197th Public Affairs Detachment

Children played in the crowd. Others slept as the families settled into chairs, waiting for the deployment ceremony to begin. The mood was one of pride and somberness as leaders and dignitaries addressed the Wyoming troops who start their journey to Kosovo, where they’ll be for nine months.

On May 28 friends and family of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 297th Infantry Regiment, gathered at the Afton Readiness Center to support the soldiers who are set to support a peacekeeping mission in Kosovo.

Gov. Mark Gordon, U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), and the Adjutant General of the Wyoming National Guard Maj. Gen. Gregory Porter all addressed the infantry unit.

Gordon commended them and their families for their service and dedication to Wyoming and their country.

He then presented the Wyoming flag to Capt. Eli T. Varney, commander of Charlie Company. Varney addressed the audience as well, telling them he knows how they feel during this time. “It’s hard to leave your loved ones, and it is hard to send them away, and I admire families that are sending their soldiers forward,” he said.

Cheney, in her remarks, said she felt “humbled and blessed” to be at the ceremony. “The mission that those of you who are deploying are going to carry out is a crucial one,” Cheney said. “It’s crucial for the freedom of this nation; it’s crucial for our important ally Kosovo, it’s crucial for our alliances, for NATO, and we’re deeply grateful. I am so proud of the men and women here of Charlie Company who are going to be deployed.”

Cheney added, “We are blessed beyond measure that the men and women in this room are among the very best soldiers we have ever seen anywhere today on the globe.”

Porter’s remarks summed up the event. He offered his thanks to everyone in attendance, especially those in the Wyoming Army National Guard. “Being a citizen soldier is a significant sacrifice in our state and our nation,” he said.

The soldiers are currently in Fort Bliss, Texas, for three weeks of training. They’ll spend another three weeks training in Germany before setting up base in Kosovo.

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