Camp Smith deployment brings tears and gratitude

Hundreds attended a deployment ceremony at Camp Smith in Cortlandt Saturday to honor and support a National Guard platoon leaving for Afghanistan.

Fifty soldiers from all over Hudson Valley marched into the ceremony as their family and friends looked on with tearful eyes. The soldiers will be training, mentoring and supporting the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police. James Anca says he is ready for the mission. ?I feel very motivated and I feel excited to be doing something that's great for my country. I'm very honored to be able to do that," Anca said.

Support for the soldiers came from many places. A fifth-grade class made a flag for the platoon, and the USO of Metropolitan New York gave the soldiers iPods.

The soldiers are part of the largest single federal deployment of the New York Army National Guard since 2003. They leave for North Carolina where they will train for two months. The soldiers then will head to Afghanistan to begin their mission, which is expected to take one year.

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