About 200 soldiers from Quebec's Royal 22nd Regiment are shipping out to Afghanistan today from CFB Valcartier.By August, a total of 2,500 troops, mostly based in Quebec, will head to Afghanistan this summer to take part in Canada's mission, taking over from Canadian Troops already stationed there.
The deployment is the first of several from Valcartier scheduled to take place between now and August.
Tears flowed and hugs were plentiful as the Quebec-based soldiers said goodbye to family and friends and departed for Afghanistan.
The troops boarded a plane bound for Kandahar under a light rain at Jean Lesage Airport in Quebec City.
The Van Doos say they are ready for what awaits them in Afghanistan and that they are well trained for the task.
Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor was in attendance on Sunday, offering encouragement and support.
Mr. O'Connor told the troops: “Know that you are in our hearts and in our thoughts. Know that we are proud of you.”
Pte. David Pelletier and girlfriend Justine Thorel say goodbye at CFB Valcartier before Pelletier's departure to Afghanistan. He is part of first group of about 200 soldiers to fly out from Quebec to replace colleagues in Afghanistan.
In Quebec, there has been a strong opposition to the deployment of Canadian soldiers.
A survey released last month suggested 70 per cent of people of Quebec were opposed to troops from CFB Valcartier going to Afghanistan. Protesters also held an antiwar demonstration last month as soldiers paraded through the streets of Quebec City.
I know .. I for one support these soldiers! Godspeed.