Missoulian: Family, friends say goodbye to Missoula troops heading to Afghanistan

Zack Larson is a soldier who decided to return to Montana almost as soon as he moved to Missouri.

The first unit he ever served with in the U.S. Army, the 823rd Movement Control Team based in Missoula, had been called to Afghanistan. Larson, of Helena, wanted to rejoin the 20 soldiers who make up the small, cohesive group.

“If I were to get deployed, this is the unit I wanted to get deployed with,” said Larson, rank specialist and traffic management coordinator.

On Monday, as the nation commemorated Labor Day, an estimated 75 family members, friends, veterans and patriots gave the U.S. Army Transportation Corps team a farewell at the Missoula Armed Forces Reserve Center before the soldiers deploy to do one of the hardest jobs of all.

They are going to war for their country, sent off with a ceremony that began with words from U.S. Sen. Jon Tester and ended with a luncheon and some tears.

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