Thirty-one Wyoming Army National Guard soldiers are headed to the Middle East.

The Guard's Detachment 3, B Company, 777th Aviation Support Battalion will leave Sunday for additional pre-deployment training at Fort Hood, Texas before heading overseas.

"We're an aviation maintenance unit," said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Joe Stanfill, the officer in charge of the unit. "We're going to go over to Kuwait and maintain the Army aircraft that are in that theater of operation right now."

Governor Matt Mead and Major General Luke Reiner attended a ceremony at the Wyoming Military Department's Joint Forces Readiness Center in Cheyenne on Friday marking the unit's deployment.

"It's because of men and women like you that we are free," said Reiner. "I know that you're ready and that you're up for the task,"

"The desert is pretty unforgiving on the aircraft that are over there, the sand and the heat wear on the aircraft a lot more than it would anywhere else," said Stanfill. "So they need qualified mechanics to maintain those aircraft so that they're there to do their mission when needed."

This is the second deployment for the unit. Its first was a peacekeeping mission to Kosovo in 2011.

Joy Greenwald, Townsquare Media