More than 800 Virginia National Guard soldiers kiss their loved ones goodbye and head off

BEDFORD, Va. – Hugging their families one last time, hundreds of Virginia National Guard soldiers were sent off Saturday to the Horn of Africa.

Gathering at the National D-Day Memorial, more than 800 soldiers stood tall as they received a blessing for their deployment.

About 200 soldiers from Kentucky will join the Virginia National Guard in a team called Task Force Red Dragon.

They will endure the heat in the Horn of Africa for potentially a year.

Governor Ralph Northam wished the soldiers well as this is one of the guard’s largest deployments since World War II.