Sunday was the day to say good-bye for members of the New Jersey National Guard 150th Engineer Company.   113 members of the Guard company reported to the Hammonton Armory yesterday, their first stop on a year-long deployment to Afghanistan.

Following  training at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, the troops will deploy to help with the deconstruction of American Military bases in preparation for a return to Afghan control.

Sunday was a last chance for families and friends to see their loved ones in person for awhile, and the scene was understandably emotional.

According to the Press of Atlantic City, Hammonton Mayor Steve DiDonato was on hand for a ceremony and the presentation of the city and state's flags to the unit. Then, with an escort from the Hammonton Police Department, the soldiers boarded buses and departed for the first stop on their journey, the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Military Facility.

Although the unit includes soldiers from around New Jersey, many of the Guardsmen come from South Jersey, including twenty five from Atlantic County and twelve from Ocean County.

Deploying soldiers don't seem to get much attention from anyone except their families these days, and that's a real pity.  Join us in wishing these Guardsmen and women a safe deployment, a speedy return to America and many thanks for their service to their country!  You can leave your well-wishes in the comments section below.