Local Soldiers of the Army National Guard were formally called to Duty Saturday afternoon.
The 2nd Battalion 174 Air Defense Artillery in McConnellsville gathered at Morgan High School before heading out for 6 weeks of training in Fort Bliss Texas, from there the nearly 180 soldiers will deploy on their mission to provide air defense near the nation’s capitol.
"The mission itself is anything but routine, so we have to make sure we continue to emphasize the importance of what we’re doing," said Lieutenant Cornell Mike Nelson. "Keep the guys focused on doing the Army’s business and basically see us through the year."
Nelson said the crew has a broad range of experience. About 50% of the soldiers in the battalion have only recently enlisted, with about a third previously serving in a similar mission. The battalion is expect to return in about a year.