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LAT: City Plans a Texas-Size Send-Off for Guard Troops Headed to Iraq
Yahoo/Los Angeles Times ^ | December 31, 2004 | Edwin Chen

Posted on 12/31/2004 9:28:06 AM PST by OESY

Edited on 12/31/2004 9:37:55 AM PST by Admin Moderator. [history]

WACO, Texas Not far from the ranch where President Bush is spending the holidays, the impact of the war in Iraq is being driven home in this city of 113,000.

In the biggest single call-up of the Texas National Guard since World War II, 3,300 citizen-soldiers are preparing to ship out for a year of combat duty in Iraq, the largest contingent to date that the state has sent there.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Texas; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: 3id; 3rdinfantry; 56thbrigade; afghanistan; bayloruniversity; chamberofcommerce; cornyn; deployed; deployment; englandercontainer; fthood; godspeed; iraq; johnstanford; nationalguard; operationphonecard; rickperry; robertsloane; stevesmith; tommyeloudavis
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1 posted on 12/31/2004 9:28:10 AM PST by OESY
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To: MEG33

ping, & Happy New Year!

2 posted on 12/31/2004 9:29:05 AM PST by OESY
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To: OESY; MeekOneGOP; Billie; lonestar

Thank You for posting this for me..I am thrilled to see Waco doing this..I was just there over the Christmas holidays.

3 posted on 12/31/2004 9:34:46 AM PST by MEG33 (...GOD BLESS OUR ARMED FORCES)
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Here's to a safe return.

I'd be willing to bet W sneaks in to visit with some of them.

4 posted on 12/31/2004 9:36:18 AM PST by mtbopfuyn
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To: TexKat; boxerblues; mystery-ak; mrstank; Old Sarge; Kathy in Alaska


5 posted on 12/31/2004 9:38:03 AM PST by MEG33 (...GOD BLESS OUR ARMED FORCES)
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We are supposed to excerpt all stories from the LA Times, even when they appear in places like Yahoo.

The same story was in the Houston Chronicle at:

3,000 guardsmen to get a big send-off to Iraq
At least 15,000 are expected to attend Waco event
Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle

A spirited send-off is planned Saturday in Waco for 3,000 Texas National Guard soldiers who are heading to Iraq as part of the state Guard's largest mobilization since World War II.

At least 15,000 people are expected to attend the farewell ceremonies at Baylor University's Floyd Casey Stadium, where dignitaries including Gov. Rick Perry will bid farewell to the 56th Brigade Combat Team.

The brigade comprises dozens of armory-based units from throughout the state, including several hundred soldiers from the Houston area.

The brigade was activated for 18 months on July 2, giving the soldiers and their families several months to prepare for the deployment.

Since mid-August, the soldiers have been training at Fort Hood in Central Texas and at Fort Polk, La., and are ready to fly immediately to Iraq for at least a year of combat duty, Guard officials said.

"They've been receiving basic soldier skills training because safety is No. 1," said Chief Master Sgt. Gonda Moncada. "We try to give them the best training we can so they're prepared to do their job."

The soldiers have a variety of specialties, including combat engineering and logistics, she added.

The combat team is part of the famed 36th Infantry Division, which originated in World War I and played a key role in World War II before being deactivated in 1968.

The division was reactivated May 1, and two months later the Pentagon said it would be part of the troop rotation known as Operation Iraqi Freedom-3.

Defense officials said the division's arrival in the war zone is timed to provide as much overlap as possible with experienced troops already in Iraq, many of whom are due to return to the United States in March.

The Guard members from Texas will be on hand to help secure the Iraqi national elections slated for Jan. 30.

Departure festivities began Thursday when several former members of the Dallas Cowboys met with the troops. Retired players, such as Tony Dorsett and Daryl Johnston, dined and mingled with 56th Brigade soldiers at Fort Hood's North Post near Gatesville.

At Floyd Casey Stadium, an Army band and three Waco choirs will entertain the New Year's Day crowd as Perry, other elected officials and numerous high-ranking Army officers salute the departing troops.

With President Bush vacationing in nearby Crawford, speculation is that he might attend the ceremonies as well.

Although most of the troops hail from Dallas, El Paso, Waco, Lubbock, Denton and San Antonio, several hundreds are from Houston and other Southeast Texas communities of Pasadena, Galveston, Missouri City, Pearland, Richmond, Angleton, Liberty, Port Neches, Nederland, Port Arthur and Orange, Moncada said.

The troops will begin leaving for Iraq soon after Saturday's ceremonies.

"They will have an opportunity to hang out with their families on New Year's Eve, and then they have to be there for theceremony. They'll have a couple of hours to say goodbye to their families, but then they all return to Fort Hood to prepare for their departure," Moncada said.
6 posted on 12/31/2004 9:43:24 AM PST by Max Combined
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To: Max Combined

My fault..I gave him the link as I saw it when reading Yahoo news.He posted it as a favor to me. I was excited about the outpouring of support.

7 posted on 12/31/2004 9:59:40 AM PST by MEG33 (...GOD BLESS OUR ARMED FORCES)
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if you go there try to avoid the nearby small town of Fairfield on us hwy 84. they like to hand out $80 parking tickets to out of towners. I got one and i never killed my engine or exited my vehicle.

8 posted on 12/31/2004 10:05:57 AM PST by fatrat (get them by their balls and their hearts and minds will follow)
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That's why this area is called "the heart of Texas"

9 posted on 12/31/2004 10:29:34 AM PST by cooldown3
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I must add my prayers for two of my family from the Brownwood,Texas area and another family friend from Midland,Texas who are to deploy to Iraq. GODSPEED and Angels go before you into Battle and always remember our family is a military family we serve proudly the country of America; Land of Freedom & Liberty I SALUTE you and all our Brave Soldiers!

10 posted on 12/31/2004 10:51:30 AM PST by winker
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To: MEG33; OESY; Billie; lonestar
Thanks. bump!

The 4th Infantry undertook Operation Red Dawn to find Saddam.
They are based in Texas - Fort Hood.

They got their man - captured Saddam. "Don't mess with Texas!":

11 posted on 12/31/2004 10:57:37 AM PST by MeekOneGOP (There is only one GOOD 'RAT: one that has been voted OUT of POWER !! Straight ticket GOP!)
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To: winker

May God put a shield around them and bring them home safe..

12 posted on 12/31/2004 11:08:22 AM PST by MEG33 (...GOD BLESS OUR ARMED FORCES)
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To: Max Combined

I hope Fox covers the event, Max. Especially if President Bush drops by. The Dems will just HATE it!


13 posted on 12/31/2004 12:23:54 PM PST by Jack Deth (Knight Errant and Disemboweler of the WFTD Thread)
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To: winker



American Soldiers fighting...
For the Freedom of Others,
Those that train them in...
Their Freedom Mission and...
Those Loved Ones who...
Wait for them to...
Come home...
or not...


Signed:.."ALOHA RONNIE" Guyer
Veteran-"WE WERE SOLDIERS" Battle of IA DRANG-1965, Landing Zone Falcon



14 posted on 12/31/2004 1:08:57 PM PST by ALOHA RONNIE ("ALOHA RONNIE" Guyer/Veteran-"WE WERE SOLDIERS" Battle of IA DRANG-1965
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To: MEG33
God speed, 56th Brigade Combat Team.

15 posted on 12/31/2004 2:00:52 PM PST by Kathy in Alaska (Support Our Troops! Operation Valentine's Day ~
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To: Kathy in Alaska

Thank you, Kathy.

16 posted on 12/31/2004 2:11:09 PM PST by MEG33 (...GOD BLESS OUR ARMED FORCES)
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To: WestCoastGal

Ya might want to check the local channels in the AM and see if they cover this live so you can post some screenshots. If not then the noon/night newscasts should have something.

17 posted on 01/01/2005 12:42:13 AM PST by ChefKeith (If a pig loses its voice, is it disgruntled?)
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To: MeekOneGOP; winker
It's been more than 50 years since this many Texans put their civilian lives on hold, left their families behind and picked up the guns of the National Guard.

The 56th Combat Brigade is trained to clear explosives disguised as almost any bit of roadside debris. They practice around the clock, seven days a week. As they say at Fort Hood, "More sweat in training, less blood in battle."

Sergeant William Calhoun survived a mortar attack in Iraq. He said these guardsmen will have better body armor, weapons and other equipment than even some active duty units had early in the war.

They will also wear the distinctive T Patch, not seen in half a century, so every one will know where they are from. They are not just soldiers, not just American soldiers, Texas soldiers.

This Page Is Dedicated To The 36 Infantry Division And It's Role In The Second World War.

History Of The "T-Patch"

18 posted on 01/01/2005 4:51:59 AM PST by MEG33 (...GOD BLESS OUR ARMED FORCES)
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To: MEG33


19 posted on 01/01/2005 12:20:40 PM PST by TexKat (Just because you did not see it or read it, that does not mean it did or did not happen.)
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Last touches put on stadium for troop send-off


Tribune-Herald staff writer

Saturday, January 01, 2005

With hotels booked and eateries buzzing, New Year's Day in Waco should prove to be more active and more emotional than the average Jan. 1.

The hurried efforts that began six weeks ago to organize a deployment ceremony for 3,000 National Guard troops will come to fruition at 2 p.m. today at Baylor's Floyd Casey Stadium.

Officials predicted 18,000 visitors to the Waco area and potentially 20,000 to 30,000 guests at the send-off for the 56th Brigade Combat Team of the Texas National Guard's 36th Infantry Division.

"I know that (the troops and their families) are going to remember this for a long time to come, the way they were treated here," said Carla Lowe, the Waco Convention and Visitor's Bureau director of sales and Internet development.

The troops, mainly from North and West Texas, will depart for year-long deployments in Iraq shortly after the ceremony. The unit, which has been training at Fort Hood since August, is known for its distinctive "T-patch" that features a "T" for Texas inside an arrowhead.

Along with accommodating the influx of travelers and helping plan the ceremony, Waco residents and businesses scrambled to go beyond logistical needs of troops and their families.

McLennan County's 3,300 hotel rooms are already booked and 42 restaurants, many of which typically close on New Year's Day, have contacted the convention bureau to publicize that they are open today.

The convention bureau projected that visitors will generate $4 million for the Waco area.

To help the troops stay in touch with their families from Iraq, Baylor University organized "Operation Phone Card." The effort raised $122,753 in less than a month to purchase pre-paid 140-minute phone cards for each guard member.

Baylor will use leftover funds beyond the the initial goal of $105,000 to purchase phone cards for other Texas military members, a Baylor news release said.

"We achieved the goal because Central Texans sincerely care about these soldiers and their families," said Tom Hill, a Baylor associate athletic director and coordinator of the fund-raising effort. "I extend my thanks to all those who reside in this area for their generous contributions."

As another gift to troops, Bill Johnson, of Waco, and other volunteers were preparing to distribute Bibles to each soldier, plus a copy of "Soldier's Prayer" for soldiers, families and friends.

"It's all about soldiers out there risking their lives for us and, you know, we want them to have Bibles," Johnson said. "The Army gives them Bibles, too, but we wanted them to have a little one, small enough they can stick it in their backpack or put it in their pocket."

The Bible distribution campaign was yet another quick turnaround effort, sparked when Julie Curtis-Win, executive director of Texas Military Family Foundation, based in Bell County, contacted Johnson for help in the endeavor. The organization has been helping approximately 100,000 soldiers, both those coming back from Iraq and departing for it.

Baylor police chief Jim Doak said the gates of Floyd Casey stadium, on Valley Mills Drive, will open at noon for the 2 p.m. event. The Ferrell Center, at the intersection of University-Parks Drive and LaSalle Avenue, is the backup venue in case of inclement weather.

Dave Martin, a National Weather Service forecaster in Fort Worth, said the weather Saturday should be unseasonably warm and humid, with a temperature in the low 70s, a 20 percent chance of rain and south winds at 10 to 15 mph.

Troops will congregate with their companies and enter the stadium at different locations than the general public, Doak said.

The public will be allowed to enter through two of the stadium's main gates on the west side, which is also where they will be seated. One of the stadium's east gates will be open.

Doak said parking will be available at the stadium. He reminded visitors that their bags will be checked, and that backpacks or bulky items are discouraged. Purses are allowed, he said.

The ceremony itself will include an entrance by the National Guard and speeches from Gov. Rick Perry, Sen. John Cornyn and Col. Red Brown, the Iraq-bound commander of the 56th.


Special Report: Real-Life Training Prepares Texas Soldiers For Insurgents

20 posted on 01/01/2005 1:11:49 PM PST by TexKat (Just because you did not see it or read it, that does not mean it did or did not happen.)
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