Farewell to Troops

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Members of the 150th Engineering Battalion of Meridian and Quitman departed for Camp Shelby on Thursday. The unit will prepare for possible overseas deployment. The separation is toughest for families.

"I feel very sad, very sad. I don't want him to go," said Perin Burchfield, whose husband is a member of the unit, as she held back tears.

Burchfield is not alone. Dozens of family members were on hand for a send-off at the Sonny Montgomery National Guard Facility in Meridian.

"It's very exciting to know we are going to do some good, to do some rebuilding," said unit member Chris Burchfield.

The good they will be doing is what makes this departure so bittersweet.

Former Cong. Sonny Montgomery was on hand to bid the troops farewell, and while deployment overseas for these men and women is not finalized, they are prepared for the job.

"There are a lot of different missions that can be accomplished in support of several different missions," said Commander Hap Palmer. "We stand ready to help with any of those missions."

But arguably the hardest job falls on the families who face the painful task of being without their loved ones.

Meanwhile, the town of Quitman lined the streets of the city for a parade to say goodbye to its members of the 150th Combat Engineering Battalion, also bound for Camp Shelby.

The crowd cheered for the soldiers while holding up American flags, making sure that the national guardsmen know how much support they have at home.