Ala. soldiers ready for Afghanistan deployment

VALLEY, Ala. (AP) -- Alabama National Guard soldiers said goodbye to family and friends as they ready for a yearlong tour in Afghanistan.

The Opelika-Auburn News reports that the company held a ceremony at the Valley Armory on Saturday festooned with flags, yellow ribbons and balloons. Company A of the 1st battalion is among 600 soldiers that will deploy later this summer from the 167th Infantry.

The company's last deployment was to Iraq in 2005. The unit will head to Camp Shelby, Miss., to train for two months before going to Afghanistan.

The company is based in Valley and has headquarters in Talladega. The soldiers come from all over the country, including Florida, Georgia and Tennessee.

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