JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – They're leaving their jobs and their families to spend a year in Afghanistan. Nearly one hundred and fifty Washington and Oregon National Guard members will deploy this summer. Monday Governor Chris Gregoire led a formal farewell ceremony for the Washington citizen-soldiers. Cindy Rue's son is a helicopter mechanic and back-up gunner. He's been to Afghanistan before.
Cindy Rue: “This time's a little bit tougher than the first time around. I'm not sure why. But the first time around I wasn't as afraid. This time I'm a little more nervous. But I think he'll be okay.”
Rue says she's more nervous partly because Afghanistan seems more dangerous these days. The Washington and Oregon Guard members are part of an aviation unit that flies Chinooks – those big twin rotor helicopters. The troops will ferry soldiers and supplies across Afghanistan starting in August. Next month they head to Texas for two months of training. They'll return next summer. The last time this particular Guard unit deployed was in 2005.