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Georgia Guardsmen heading to Afghanistan

Soldiers of the 876th Engineer Company and the 175th Engineer Company pour and spread concreted for one of several helicopter landing pad projects in this undated file photo

About 150 members of the Georgia National Guard from the Toccoa-based 876th Engineer Company are heading to Afghanistan this summer for a nine-month deployment.

Consisting of carpenters, electricians, masons and plumbers, the unit will be based in the Kabul area and will train Afghanistan’s security forces on engineering skills. The troops will also help improve and maintain existing infrastructure in the war-torn country as the U.S. military draws down its forces there.

“For the state of Georgia, we are the only vertical construction company,” said Capt. Tyler Cook of Woodstock, the company’s commander. “We are kind of a specialized unit in that sense. So we are just going purely to do construction and whatever tasks where they put us that are engineering-related.”

The troops will first head to Fort Stewart for about a month and then Fort Bliss in Texas for additional training before deploying overseas. They are preparing to attend a send-off ceremony at 10 a.m. May 29 at the Georgia Baptist Conference Center in Toccoa.

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