LAPLACE – The soldiers of the Louisiana National Guard’s 1084th Transportation Company said farewell to friends and family members on Sunday during a deployment ceremony at the St. John Civic Center in LaPlace. Though it was a first deployment for many of the soldiers, many more said it was not their initial experience.
The unit will leave the state on Wednesday. From there, they will conduct mobilization training at Fort Hood, Texas, before deploying overseas. The program consisted of several rallying speeches by military officials, a brief rendition of “The Army Goes Rolling Along,” a reading of “The Solider’s Creed” and food and beverages for the soldiers and their families.
“I’m excited, I’m happy. This is my second deployment. It’s the majority of their first deployment, but for a great deal of us it’s oursecond, third, some fourth,” said Specialist Monique Major, with son Tayke Turner, 5, in her arms.
More than 155 soldiers will be deployed to Afghanistan for a year-long period. Staff Sgt. Denis Ricou said the soldiers will mainly provide escort security for the convoys of the host nation and provide transportation support to friendly forces operating within the assigned area, but the soldiers will have other duties as well.
“It’s not the Afghanistan national army, but more like the Afghanistan government that is transporting goods. These guys are going to provide security for the convoys that may take hours or days. Another mission that they have will be to transport the goods for different armed services. It could be anything — ammunition, it could be building supplies, it could be vehicles,” he said.
Maj. Gen. Glen H. Curtis offered words of sympathy and encouragement during his speech: “As I mentioned, today is a tough day, but it’s a double-edged sword for our family members. On one side your buttons are going pop off your chest because you’re so proud of them, for their willingness to step up and serve the nation. On the other side, they’re going to be gone for a considerable length of time. It’s much harder on the family than it is on the soldier. A solider and airman, they know where they’re at on the battlefield. They know whether it’s a good day or a bad day, if it’s dangerous or if it’s not, and most of the time it’s not. It’s typically just either very hot, very cold, nasty, dirty, and you miss home. But family members always worry regardless of what you tell them. So I appreciate you letting them serve the nation.”
Over the years, the 1084th has provided support during Operation Noble Eagle and disaster relief.