Local soldier receives surprise send-off before deployment to Middle East

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — A Stateline soldier preparing to deploy overseas received a heartfelt surprise Sunday afternoon. Private First Class (PFC) Austin Henning was honored by family and friends during a drive-by send-off.

At the end of the month, the soldier will ship out to the Middle East for one year. Henning’s mom wanted to surprise him, since this will be his first deployment with the US Army.

“It’s going to be hard with him gone, and especially with him going overseas, that makes it even ramped up a little bit further. But we’re proud of what he’s doing and we’re proud of all he’s accomplishing. Yeah, just very proud,” Nikki Carter said.

Dozens of cars drove by to wish the soldier well–including some active military members and veterans.

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