There was a sending-off ceremony for members of the Army National Guard on Saturday, March 23, 2013. Learning of the event, only two members attended the event. There were at least 500 veterans, family and friends in attendance, as well as Gov. Steve Bullock.
After the speeches there was time for the soldiers to have breakfast snacks and coffee and talk among family and friends.
Tim and I wandered the crowd. We shook hands with many young men and women and their supporters. As the time neared for them to leave, everyone went out on to the tarmac. The helicopters revved up, families said their final goodbyes and slowly they walked up to the plane.
They later hovered over the tarmac until they were all airborne. They took off north of us until they turned around and in formation flew over us. The crowd waved, and the emergency and fire engines on the tarmac blew their horns and sirens and flashed their lights in a fond farewell. They were on a two-day journey to Fort Hood.
The emergency vehicles turned to face the runway, and as the plane took off in front of us the bagpipe band played, the vehicles had their lights, horns and sirens going, and the crowd waved. The men and women will be at Fort Hood training for a few weeks before they are deployed to Kuwait for 14 months.