Illinois National Guard unit deployed to Middle East

An Illinois National Guard unit is being called up for active duty in the Middle East.

During their deployment ceremony Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Pritzker presented the soldiers of the 178th Infantry the state flag to accompany them on their mission and serve as a reminder that the people of Illinois support them and await their safe return.

"On behalf of the entire state of Illinois, thank you for your service. I hope you carry the entire strength of this state with you, soldiers, knowing that we stand behind you every step of the way," said Pritzker.

Their active duty begins on June 8 and, according to the deployment order, will last for up to 400 days in support of Operation Spartan Shield.