Georgia National Guard unit heading to Afghanistan

A Marietta-based Georgia National Guard unit with about 200 soldiers is deploying for 12 months to Afghanistan.

The 214th Field Artillery Battalion is not departing for training until Feb. 26, but a departure ceremony is held at 1 p.m. Friday at the Granite Bowl Stadium in Elberton, said 1st Lt. Michael Thompson, a public affairs spokesman. The battalion is part of the 78th Homeland Response Force.

It marks the third deployment for a Georgia National Guard unit in the last three weeks. Sendoffs were held for the 878th Engineer Battalion in Augusta a week ago and the 848th Engineer Company departed three weeks ago for deployment to Afghanistan. Lt. Col. David Casey said the artillery battalion is replacing soldiers leaving western Afghanistan. The battalion will be providing base security for U.S. forces.

“We are excited,” Casey said. “We are ready get after it.”

In less than two weeks, Casey said the battalion with men and women will depart for six to eight weeks of training at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center in Mississippi.

Soldiers should arrived in Afghanistan in the spring.