Area Troops Leave for Afghanistan

Area Troops Leave for Afghanistan

More than 100 National Guard troops left for Afghanistan Sunday afternoon.
RICHLAND TOWNSHIP, CAMBRIA COUNTY - The 252nd Engineering Group is on their way to serve a nearly year-long mission in Afghanistan.
 
"I think people have gotten a little nonchalant about that mission but I think there’s really a lot to do over there yet,” said Barry Munko, of Johnstown.
 
They gathered at the National Guard Armory on Sunday, loaded up their bags and drove off as their families waved goodbye.
 
"I'm very proud of him and I want him to be safe,” said Jenna Burkett, whose uncle is a member of the 252nd. “I love him because he’s protecting us and going all this nice stuff for us.”
 
"Our son is already over there, waiting for his 252 buddies and our nephew is on the bus," said Sissy Vitalie. "We're extremely proud of Pennsylvania National Guard. We’re a tough country. We're a tough state."
 
It wasn't just the family members, though, that lined the streets to say goodbye.
 
"We live close by and I think the least we can do is come and wish these guys Godspeed and hopefully they'll come back safe," said Munko.
 
The community in the Johnstown area came out to show their support. They all talked about how much of a rich, military history Cambria County has.
 
The send off, even hit home for some veterans.
 
"It makes you feel proud,” said Michael Ofsanko, a Vietnam Veteran. “It brings me back to my Vietnam era days. It could bring a tear to my eyes."
 
Whether they were family, friends or even strangers, it was clear that this community supports their troops.
 
"I'd like to see them bring all those guys home,” said Jeff Weir, of Johnstown. “Bring them home and enjoy their families and everything in America"
 
These troops are going to Afghanistan to help with the winding down of the mission. They'll be bringing other troops home with them.

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