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    Texas National Guardsmen Deploy

    Headquarters and Headquarters Troop Deployment Ceremony

    Photo By Malcolm McClendon | Texas National Guardsmen and family from Headquarters and HeadquartersTroop, Task...... read more read more

    WYLIE, Texas – It was an early morning for friends and family as they gathered at the Armory in Wylie, Texas. Across from them, soldiers stood in formation waiting anxiously to be released and say their final goodbyes.

    Texas National Guardsmen from Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, Task Force Raptor (3-124 Cavalry), held their deployment ceremony early Saturday morning in front of onlookers; some who drove as far as Edinburgh, Texas to say their farewells.

    “We had a chance to come up 3 days prior, it gave us a opportunity to take our time getting here safely, the long drive was worth it,” said 1st Lt. Vince Bautista, physician assistant for the Task Force. “This is our first deployment as a family, so to have them here seeing what we do and what we’re about makes them feel a little better about me being gone.”

    Separate deployment ceremonies were also held in Houston, Lufkin, Seagoville, Terrell and Denison for the additional units deploying with the Task Force.

    Local and community leaders were also in attendance at the various events, showing their support for the men and women that drill in their communities. In Terrell, Mayor Hall Richards, was invited to speak at Charlie Troop’s ceremony.

    “We’ve had a Guard unit here since the 50s and the community has always been behind them. This is a very patriotic place and our people really care about the soldiers,” says Richards. “I think people who are in the Guard are serving not only their country, but also their families and communities back home.

    Richards additionally recognized the service of the family members and loved ones who stay behind.

    “I know that you guys have been training for this, and to some extent excited about going, but it’s the families whom are left to worry and deal with the same day-to-day things. I know that’s hard, and we will make sure to always remember their sacrifice as well,” Richards added.

    Family and friends present at the farewells were also treated to a Repatching Ceremony.

    The Guardsmen, in formation, were given the order to remove the traditional 36th Infantry Division “T-Patch” and replace it with the new 71st Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, higher headquarters of the 3-124 CAV, patch. According to the heraldry read at the ceremony, the new patch design incorporates all that the brigade is about.

    “The Oriental blue is the traditional color of the Military Intelligence Corps; the Griffin embodies, vigilance, alertness and courage. The contrast of the white and black of the Griffin’s eye symbolizes the overt and clandestine nature of the brigade’s mission. And the two lightning flashes represent the mix of communication, electronic warfare and cavalry,” read by Capt. Douglas Yates.

    At the end of the repatching and casing of the colors, the soldiers were finally released to meet their families and friends. Hugs and kisses were exchanged for an emotional departure. After the tears and long embraces, Bautista, along with his fellow soldiers, boarded the bus. Looking back at the ceremony and fellow Guardsmen’s families, he shared that he has all the confidence in his staff that the medical care of the men and women deploying will be taken care of.

    “We brought a really good staff, with lots of experience.” Bautista added, “we’re here for the soldiers and we will do anything we can to make sure their health and welfare is taken care of throughout this deployment and we’re available 24 hours for them.”

    The Texas National Guardsmen will be deploying to the Horn of Africa early this year in support of Combined Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA).



    Date Taken: 01.13.2012
    Date Posted: 01.14.2012 17:41
    Story ID: 82427
    Location: WYLIE, TX, US 

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