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Delaware National Guard unit heads to Afghanistan

45 Delaware National Guard members are bound for Afghanistan on a mission to help draw down the twelve-year war. The detachment of the 150th Engineer Company leaves Sunday from Newark for a 12 month active-duty tour.

Major General Frank Vavala says their primary mission is to prepare forward operating bases for closure or transfer.

“Well, essentially, as we draw down in forces in Afghanistan, we’ve got quite an infrastructure built there that we need to turn over to the Afghani military or to dismantle so that it can’t be used by the Taliban,” said Maj. General Vavala.

The unit will also be responsible for conducting inventories and hauling materials and debris to designated areas during its 12 month active-duty tour.

“This is typical. We are coming towards the end because the strategy is to have the military turn over day-to-day operations to the Afghan military in 2014 so we’re coming at the end so essentially we’re part of the operation to turn off the lights,” said Maj. General Vavala.

The Guard held a departure ceremony Sunday morning in New Castle in the Army Aviation Support Facility. The engineering detachment will first report to Camp Shelby in Mississippi for four to six weeks of “theater immersion” training.