Farewell ceremony held for 150 Long Island National Guard soldiers departing for Kuwait

News 12's Antoinette Biordi was at the Army Aviation Support Facility in Ronkonkoma before their departure.

News 12 Staff

Feb 2, 2023, 1:26 PM

Updated 499 days ago

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A farewell ceremony was held for 150 Long Island National Guard soldiers about to depart for 11 months of service in Kuwait.
The soldiers will be supporting Task Force Spartan, part of the 10,000-soldier Army presence in the Middle East.
News 12's Antoinette Biordi was at the Army Aviation Support Facility in Ronkonkoma before their departure.
“You’re excited leading up…A year is a long time,” said Jerry Rivera of the Army National Guard.
“We're supporting his decisions and we're proud of him. We’ll be sending him packages and letters,” said his sister Melissa Rivera.
Huntington resident Stephanie Staab helped plan the ceremony. Her husband, Army Specialist Alfred Staab, is one of the soldiers being deployed.
“Tomorrow, it will definitely hit me hard because I haven't exactly been thinking about it too much. I've just been focused on planning a great ceremony for them,” she said.
Erica Umana, of Central Islip, enrolled in the Army National Guard three years ago.
“I was very proud of where I've gotten to and I'm excited. I'm nervous, but mostly excited,” she said.
Umana’s family was also beaming with pride.
“It's inspiring. I find her very inspiring. I’m very proud of her for what she's done,” said her cousin Keyla Aguilar.


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