David L. Ryan/Globe Staff
Hundreds of family members and friends gathered at the Massasoit Community College Conference Center in Brockton today in a sendoff ceremony for local soldiers being deployed to Afghanistan.
The 164 soldiers with the 379th Engineer Company are set to deploy in the next several days.
Dignitaries including Governor Deval Patrick, US Representative Stephen F. Lynch and Brockton Mayor Linda Balzotti thanked the soldiers for their sacrifice, and promised to support their families during their year-long deployment.
“You will be in our thoughts and prayers every day,” said Major General Joseph C. Carter, adjutant general of the Massachusetts National Guard.
As part of an engineer company, the soldiers will specialize in building roadways, airfields and helicopter landing pads, as well as clearing minefields and setting up base camps.
“This is my duty. I step forward and do what I have to do,” said Staff Sergeant Leo Boudreau, 37, of Melrose.
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