A group of Missouri National Guard soldiers is heading to the Middle East later this week.

The Missouri National Guard says its Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 138th Infantry Regiment, is readying to support Operation Spartan Shield. The members will provide a quick reaction force in the Middle East, supporting a National Guard company from Arkansas and a combat team from Mississippi.

A news release says the Missouri National Guard has a long history of providing support to both state and federal missions, and the soldiers of C Co, 1-138th, represent the best of the organization’s tradition of service and sacrifice.

Cpt. Tylor Floyd and 1st Sgt. Benjamin Vinyard are the command team.

“We are incredibly proud of the men and women of this company and their willingness to serve our nation,” said Cpt. Floyd. “As they prepare to deploy, we ask that the community keep them in their thoughts and prayers and continue to support their families who also make sacrifices in service to our nation.”

A departure ceremony will be Friday at 11:00 a.m. at Perry Park Center in southeast Missouri’s Perryville. During the ceremony, the soldiers will be recognized for their commitment to duty and service to their country.

During the ceremony, as per tradition, the oldest soldier in the unit will be responsible for carrying the American flag throughout the deployment and returning it safely. The youngest soldier will do the same with Missouri’s state flag.

The length of the deployment is unknown.

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