The American military and its allies are drawing down their presence in Afghanistan this year. But even as that's happening, several hundred Illinois National Guardsmen are being called up. The soldiers will be supporting the mission in Afghanistan by handling logistics and administrative duties in Kuwait. In all, about 280 men and women are heading out, including Major Brad Leighton. He's the executive officer for a unit that oversees finance, postal services, and even Army watercraft. After Leighton's two prior deployments to Iraq, one can imagine going to Kuwait is something of a relief:
"So yeah, it's a lot less stressful to be in a place where you can reasonably expect not to get shot at."
Leighton says this is the second-largest deployment of an individual Illinois National Guard unit in recent years -- the biggest had nearly 3,000 infantry soldiers in Afghanistan.
The soldiers will spend a brief period training in Texas, then 10 months in Kuwait. They're expected to return home this fall.
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