Nearly 150 Connecticut Air National Guard members are in the process of mobilizing to protect our country from thousands of miles away in Southwest Asia.
Connecticut leaders came together to honor and thank the members of the 103rd Airlift Wing at a deployment ceremony at the Bradley Air National Guard Base in East Granby Tuesday.
Twenty-three-year-old Staff Sgt. Tyler Carlson is one of those set to deploy.
“Surreal. I can’t believe it’s happening. I’m proud. Kind of speechless, but also a little bit teary eyed. Sad to be leaving them, but proud to be doing what I’m doing," he said.
Some of Carlson’s family members watched him in awe during the ceremony.
“Very proud of my son, Tyler,” said Arlen Carlson.
“I’m super proud of him and I’m sad that he’s going to be gone. I love him,” said his 13-year-old brother Tanner Carlson.
While the members can’t go into specifics of what they’ll be doing, “The best I can say is just try to make sure the planes do what they’re supposed to do,” explained Carlson.
We’re told they’ll be supporting ongoing combat operations there.
This is the second deployment to Southwest Asia for Staff Sgt. Jazmine Thomas of Manchester.
“I feel much more confident. At first it’s very scary, especially leaving your family. This is the test. This is the ultimate test. You’ve been training all year for this. Now you’re going and you’re putting it to where it actually matters.”
She and her wife Ashley are familiar with the farewell.
“People say it gets easier, but it doesn’t,” said Ashley.
They try to make the best of it.
“I get the house to myself so I don’t have to worry about picking up after her,” said Ashley laughing.
These Connecticut residents are risking their lives to protect our freedoms, and inspiring our future protectors.
“Yeah one day one day when I’m older,” said Tanner Carlson, who so looks up to his older brother.