A surprise goodbye for National Guardswoman
Emily Wendt was very surprised last Sunday as her family and friends held a surprise goodbye party for her at Riverside Park.
Emily, a 2018 Springfield High school graduate, is being deployed with the 2-135th Infantry Battalion in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in the Horn of Africa.
“Our battalion will serve as part of a Task Force to improve security posture at U.S. installations and forward operating bases in the AFRICOM region, while maintaining a rapidly deployable force prepared to respond to crisis”, said Commander Lt. Col. Charles Rankin.
Emily is one of 700 soldiers from the Minnesota National Guard’s Mankato-based 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry.
This is her first deployment. She’s a Unit Supply Specialist in the S4 Battalion.
Emily joined the National Guard on September 1, 2017.
“I wanted to do something productive and help this country,” said Emily.
She was inspired to join the National Guard because of her brother, Joseph Wendt. Her brother was unable to be at the going away party. He’s currently protecting and providing security in the Twin Cities with his National Guard unit.
Soldiers in the battalion come from nearly 200 communities around Minnesota, and age in range from 18 to 52. For 76 soldiers this will be their second deployment, and for 52 soldiers it will be their third or fourth. More than one hundred soldiers are in the process of earning a degree or have an associate degree, while three have an advanced degree. More than 120 soldiers have at least one dependent family member.
Emily has majored in nursing and she’s in the process of earning her degree.
COVID-19 provided some challenges in final preparations for deployment.
Rankin said the welfare of his soldiers, their families and their employers was at the center of every decision he made. The unit conducted final Soldier Readiness Processing in April utilizing social distancing measures like wearing masks and staggering soldiers testing. They will report to Camp Ripley the first week of June, train and depart for Fort Bliss, Texas at the end of the month.
“Our soldiers are ready to deploy, well-trained, fully-equipped and highly-motivated,” said Rankin.