HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — More than 500 soldiers with the Pennsylvania National Guard’s 28th Infantry Division are leaving their homes and families for a year-long deployment to the Middle East, and over 100 of them are from the Midstate.

They will serve in support of Operation Spartan Shield and U.S. Central Command’s mission of increasing regional security and stability in support of enduring U.S. interests.

“As you can see the world is a pretty volatile place right now, but the presence of American
soldiers helps to calm things wherever that volatility happens to be,” said Maj. Gen. Mark
McCormack, the commanding general of the 28th Infantry Division. “We have an interest in the
region, we have partners in the region, and our deployment is to reassure partners.”

Once they arrive, they will become the headquarters element of Task Force Spartan, the U.S. military posture in Southwest Asia that aims to strengthen U.S. defense relationships and build partner capacities.

McCormack said this is the rank’s second trip to the Middle East — the first was in 2018 — and he said that means over 40% of soldiers are going into the mission knowing what they are doing.

The soldiers and their families were praised for their dedication to duty and selfless service on Sunday.