Skip to comments.LAT: City Plans a Texas-Size Send-Off for Guard Troops Headed to Iraq
Posted on 12/31/2004 9:28:06 AM PST by OESYEdited 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 story.news.yahoo.com ...
ping, & Happy New Year!
Thank You for posting this for me..I am thrilled to see Waco doing this..I was just there over the Christmas holidays.
AMERICA..HOME OF THE FREE BECAUSE OF THE BRAVE
Here's to a safe return.
I'd be willing to bet W sneaks in to visit with some of them.
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.
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.
That's why this area is called "the heart of Texas"
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!
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!":
May God put a shield around them and bring them home safe..
I hope Fox covers the event, Max. Especially if President Bush drops by. The Dems will just HATE it!
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...
Signed:.."ALOHA RONNIE" Guyer
Veteran-"WE WERE SOLDIERS" Battle of IA DRANG-1965, Landing Zone Falcon
Thank you, Kathy.
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.
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"
By MATT JOYCE
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.
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