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STOCKTON - One hundred soldiers in 12 Chinook helicopters left the Stockton Flight Facility early Sunday morning to start their deployment to Afghanistan.

It was a spectacular take off - the first one in years in which all 12 CH-47 heavy-lift, tandem rotor helicopters left simultaneously from the airport.

This is the third deployment to the Middle East for Bravo Company, 1-126th Aviation Regiment. Previous missions including 2003's Operatino Iraqi Freedom and 2008's Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

Company Commander, Capt. Ben Bowman said the majority of the deploying soldiers were "kicking and screaming to get chosen for this mission."

The company's military mission could include air assaults and transporting personell and equipment. Typically, the Army National Guard is deployed for no longer than 12 months.

After all 12 helicopters left the Stockton airport, the Chinooks will break off into groups of four and travel to different airports in the West before arriving at Ft. Hood, TX for additional training.

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