HAMMOND, La. — More than 140 soldiers with the Louisiana National Guard’s 1st Assault Helicopter Battalion, 244th Aviation Regiment, have bid farewell to family and friends during a deployment ceremony.

The Hammond-based unit, known as Task Force Voodoo, deployed Friday afternoon for nine months to Kuwait and other locations to provide aerial medical evacuation support and equipment and personnel transport in support of Operations Spartan Shield and Inherent Resolve.

The 1-244th deployed to Iraq in 2003 and 2009 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, where they provided air assault operations in direct support to special operations and coalition forces.