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Sendoff Ceremony for 1136th Transportation Company 

A sendoff ceremony for the 1136th Transportation Company was held Saturday in Orono.The soldiers will be deploying to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.Meghan Hayward reports.Over 1,600 people packed the Collins Center for the Arts on the UMaine campus to show their support for the members of the 1136th Transportation Company, part of the Maine Army National Guard.” I am so proud that the State of Maine supports our troops. The turn-out today is just extraordinary. People have come from all over the State to see them off. It’s just a wonderful experience to be a part of it.”Over 175 soldiers were honored at the ceremony.The unit, which is based out of Bangor, Calais and Sanford will provide security for bases while in Afghanistan.Some of the soldiers also deployed to Kuwait in 2003.Married couple Joshua and Meghann Rollins will be deploying together.A second time for Joshua, but a first for Meghann.But Meghann says she’s gotten some advice from her husband.” Just to kind of go with the flow and relax and keep a positive attitude. Really just hope for the best and prepare for anything that comes our way.”The Rollins don’t know how much time they’ll be spending with each other, but are happy to be going together.” It’s easier to know that we’ll be 20 miles apart versus 2,000. At least we’ll be able to see each other once in awhile. Better than going 12 months without seeing each other.”There will also be brothers on this mission.This is a second deployment for Toby Pond.But this time around he is leaving a son behind.” It’s hard letting him go. I mean he’s a year old now and so much fun to have around. It’s going to be tough but this is the mission we’ve been called to do and it’s something I believe in. So I mean to protect him and everyone elses families it’s something we have to do.”There is one thing Toby and his brother can count on.Several care packages from their mother.” Oh there might be a favorite food that they like. And it might be something off the wall. Last time we sent them a mat that had fake grass so they could have some grass.”The Pond brother’s mother says anything that can bring a smile to their faces is worth sending over.And all the soldiers say the crowd that turned out to see them off brought smiles to their faces too.