56 Louisiana National Guard soldiers deploy out of Pineville this afternoon for a mission in Afghanistan. The troops will join two companies to provide aviation support. Colonel Ed Bush of the Louisiana National Guard says the aviation support will bring the Bayou State’s troops to the heart of the action.

“Essentially they are a Blackhawk Medevac unit. They support the area, they will fly in and Medevac as needed to places where it is safe.”

Over 700 Louisiana National Guardsmen are deployed for the war on terror.

The anniversary of 9/11 is next week and Bush says in the 18 years since the tragic event Louisiana’s National Guard has had a substantial presence throughout the war effort.

“We have had guardsmen there deployed to the desert in support of this war for almost 20 years now. But I would say that since 9/11 we have got almost 19,000 Louisiana guardsmen that been deployed in support of the global War on Terror.”

Bush says the high demand for aviation units can lead to multiple deployments and this trip, in particular, has some unexpected effects on families.

“With the unit that is deploying today you have got a father-son group and you have got a married couple even who is deploying together.”