published: Sunday, February 17, 2013
National Guard to hold first departure ceremony
By SAMANTHA GHOLAR
SEBRING - The 3rd Battalion, 116th Field Artillery unit is gearing up for a tour in the Middle East. Nearly 500 National Guard members will suit up and ship out this weekend for a nine-month tour in Qatar.
The local American Legion Post 74 has put together a send off ceremony for these brave men and women. This is the first ever Mobilization Departure Ceremony that has been held in Sebring.
"We want people to come out and show their support. This is the first one they've had in Sebring, but they have had other ceremonies over in Arcadia," said American Legion Riders District Coordinator John Vincent.
Four units will deploy together under the 3rd batallion following the ceremony. Most of the soon-to-be-deployed guardsmen has been on a deployment previously.
"They were deployed about a year ago and then they came back for a while. Now they are going back," Vincent said.
The Mobilization Departure Ceremony is a traditonal part of deployment for other branches of the military and occurs often within the other branches.
Residents are invited to take part in the ceremony to support and encourage the many men and women that will be overseas for close to a year.
Lunch will be served as well as music and entertainment. A family day is planned for the soldiers preceding the departure ceremony.
"There are some things planned for the soldiers so that they may spend some time with their families before they deploy. We will have bounce houses, clowns, face painting, patriotic music, food and some other activities going on for everyone to enjoy," Vincent said.
The 3rd Battalion, 116th Field Artillery Mobilization Departure Ceremony will be held Thursday at the Highlands County Fair Convention Center. The family day events will begin at 1 p.m. The ceremony will start promptly at 4 p.m. Military members are asked to wear their duty uniforms with patrol cap, civilian attire is business casual.
On Saturday the batallion leaves Florida to prepare for their departure. Legion, VFW and other military organizations will provide escorts for the troops leaving from Lake Wales, Arcadia and Avon Park. The units will mobilize at Camp Shelby in South Mississippi before heading overseas.
For more information contact CPT Kyle Richardson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank You (by: Blindman - 2/18/2013)
Thank you to all the brave and dedicated men & women who are serving our country. May God be with you and keep you safe on this journey. Bless you and your families for all you do for our great nation. God Bless America~
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