Hundreds of Ohio National Guard members deploy from Dayton

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — There were emotional goodbyes for many soldiers and their families as 400 of the Ohio National Guard members were deployed overseas on Thursday.

The Call of Duty ceremony is a sacred time but also a time of uncertainty for the troops and the families they’ll leave behind. Hundreds of soldiers from the Ohio National Guard’s 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team are leaving the Miami Valley and expecting about a year-long deployment overseas.

Task Force Saber Commander Lieutenant Colonel William Cousins has been deployed nine times over the course of 31 years and says the most effective advice he has is leaning on one another.

“It’s about teamwork, about the soldier next to you and being able to be vulnerable and lean on one another,” said LTC Cousins. “We’re all going to have hard days, so leaning on each other is a skill we have to develop.”

Some families who attended the ceremony say they are so proud of their sons and daughters but the road ahead is a quite humbling journey.

“I trust the Lord, I trust the training in the soldiers they got and I trust the soldiers he’s going with,” said Resident Belinda Mallett.

Belinda Mallett is preparing for the second time, for her son, Sgt. Ivan Mallett to be deployed. The family remembers the first deployment in 2015, Sgt. Mallett says missing your loved ones never goes away.

“Just being away I think, not being able to be present with friends and family but just being away is the hardest part and thinking about that,” said Sgt. Mallett.

The Ohio National Guard’s 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team deployment is also making history with Second Lieutenant Madeline Lindley.

“I am the first female to deploy with Charlie Troop as an Infantry Platoon Leader which is exciting, so I’m ready to do the best for my guys and bring everyone home safe,” said 2LT. Lindley.

Lindley’s Grandfather Gene served as a Lieutenant in the Army Chemical Corp from 1961 to 1968. He says he’s been amazed at the journey Madeline is taking and knows the sky’s the limit for her platoon on this deployment.

“I want her to use all of her training she’s had and has a lot of good sense about her, I’m not worried about that, she’ll be a great leader,” said Gene Lindley.

The first ceremony took place on Tuesday in Tiffin, with others scheduled throughout the week at various locations around the state. 

Details for each ceremony follow: