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Approximately 25 Soldiers from the 1863rd Financial Management Support Detachment, based in Chicago, are preparing to head overseas in support of Operation European Assure, Deter, and Reinforce following a mobilization ceremony at the Northwest Armory in Chicago Jan. 5.

            “Every now and then you get to do something great in your life,” said Maj. Gen. Rodney Boyd, Assistant Adjutant General – Army of the Illinois National Guard and Commander of the Illinois Army National Guard. “This is one of those times. I always tell our Soldiers to go and make an impact.”

            Boyd thanked the families of the unit’s Soldiers.

            “Because of your support, we can do what we love to do and that’s wear this uniform and serve this great nation,” he said.

            Boyd urged the Soldiers to support each other during the deployment and take care of each other, but to not forget about family back home.

            “Stay in contact with your family,” he said. “Regardless of which theater you deploy to, your families are concerned about you.”

            Boyd said that although the eyes of the world are not watching them, the Soldiers of the 1863rd represent the Illinois Army National Guard.

            “At the end of the day, we are depending on you to go over there and do great things,” he said. “Make a name for yourselves as other units before you have. Wear that patch proudly while you’re there.”

            Capt. Cameron Ward, the 1863rd’s Commander, said for many of the families, this deployment will be the longest time away from their Soldier.

            “Time away from family is the hardest part of a deployment,” Ward told the families, urging them to stay in contact with their Soldiers.

            The 1863rd is a relatively new unit, having been organized on Sept. 1, 2018 under what was then the 108th Sustainment Brigade and was redesignated this past year as the 34th Division Sustainment Brigade. The 1863rd received its federal recognition on Dec. 18, 2020.

            While this is the first overseas mission for the unit, the 1863rd was activated by the state of Illinois in April 2020 to operate community testing sites in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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