30 brave men and women say goodbye to loved ones, gear up for deployment to Kuwait

WEST BEND -- Loved ones on Saturday, May 30th said goodbye to approximately 30 soldiers who are headed to Kuwait.

The soldiers are part of the Wisconsin National Guard's 135th aviation 2nd battalion in West Bend.

Wisconsin National Guard soldiers deploying to Kuwait

"We understand the tremendous sacrifice you are about to make and we are so thankful for. These brave men and women are the ones who assure we can sleep peacefully at night," Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch said.

Kleefisch joined senior Wisconsin National Guard leaders and friends and family members to send off these soldiers on Saturday. They are being deployed to Kuwait in support of Operation Inherent Resolve and Operation Spartan Shield. They will provide helicopter medevac assets and maintenance support to American personnel operating in the region.

"If soldiers are out there getting hurt fighting the war, we`ll go pick them up and provide medical care and get them the next echelon of treatment," Jeremy Johanek, chief warrant officer 3 said.

This is Johanek's third deployment. He says this trip poses more challenges.

"Our connectivity as far as internet is concerned, our living conditions, what we are provided as far as day-to-day living accommodations are going to be more trying," Johanek said.

Also difficult -- saying goodbye to loved ones. There were mixed emotions during Saturday's sendoff ceremony.

Wisconsin National Guard soldiers deploying to Kuwait

"A lot of things -- pride and a little sad and hopeful," Johanek's wife Kami said.

Saying goodbye is hard, but these families also feel pride knowing the difference their loved ones will make.

"His core values and beliefs and his serving to his fellow man and hoping that he makes a difference ," Johanek's mother-in-law Kim Radder said.

These Wisconsin soldiers will deploy as part of a larger aviation task force being sent to Kuwait. The battalion is made up of National Guard aviation units spread across Colorado, Nebraska and Wisconsin.