For Tara Field, watching her husband, Maj. Jim Field, deploy overseas is nothing new.
After all, he served in Afghanistan several years ago.
But this is the first time the local Ohio Army National Guard member has deployed since the births of their three children, ages 4, 6 and 8.
“The youngest I don’t think gets it,” Tara Field, 39, of Sunbury, said. “The older one is starting to piece together what it means to be in the military.”
The Fields were among about 150 family, friends and employers of about 50 “citizen-soldiers” from the Ohio Army National Guard’s Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 174th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, Mission Command Element 23 who gathered Friday afternoon for a “call to duty” sendoff ceremony at the Reynoldsburg Community Church.
“The unit will provide mission command support of air defense assets in western Europe,” according to the National Guard. It will be the unit’s third overseas deployment rotation on this mission, which is intended to “enhance deterrence (and) increase readiness” of U.S. forces in Europe in support of NATO and U.S. allies in the region.
The deployment is not in direct response to the conflict in Ukraine, the Guard said.
Parts of the brigade headquarters also have deployed five times during the past 10-15 years to support security of the National Capital Region in Washington, according to the Guard.
For the next several months to a year, the unit will help support NATO partners in the region, said Col. Greg Rogers, commander of the Mission Command Element 23.
“All you need is to turn on the news to see the increased need for air defense,” Rogers said.
It will be the first deployment for 1st Lt. Tyler Nason, 24, of Fremont, a member of the Ohio National Guard for the past two years who farms and works construction when not serving his country.
“I’m very proud of the people I’m serving with,” said Nason, who previously served in the ROTC in college.
Spc. Jonathan Miller, 30, of Lorain, who’s in between jobs in his civilian life, joined the Guard just over two years ago due to an interest in military intelligence.
“I’m excited to get started,” Miller said. “It will be an adjustment, but it’s something I’ve always been interested in.”
Staff Sgt. Jesse Hickey, 35, of Springfield, is now a general contractor by trade but previously served in the active Army for six years before joining the Guard. Although he previously spent time in South Korea, this is the first time he’ll be deployed with the Guard.
“I feel like I have a duty to the younger soldiers to share my knowledge,” he said.