Supporters send off guardsmen for deployment

Chaplin Scott Edwards kisses his 3-year-old son Levi Edwards as he prepares to travel to Fort Bliss before being deployed to Kuwait. (Photo by Logan Kirkland, SDN)
Staff Writer

Families and friends gathered at the Mississippi National Guard Armory on Highway 12 in Starkville to send off guardsmen who are preparing for deployment Monday morning.

Soldiers of the Second Battalion, 114th field Artillery Regiment prepared their belongings for their trek to Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas.

About 110 soldiers were deployed from the armory in Starkville. Those solders will be at Fort Bliss for about two-and-a-half months before being sent to Kuwait for a nine-month deployment.

Oktibbeha County Sheriff's deputies, Starkville Police officers, and veterans escorted the buses carrying the soldiers.

Family and friends lined Highway 12, sporting American flags, holding signs and waving goodbye to their loved ones.

Dana Hudgens said she came to show her support for a life-long friend she has known since high school.

"I'm thankful for all of these men and women that are here to serve my country, for my freedom," Hudgens said.

Hudgens said having the send off shows each soldier they are loved and appreciated for their service and sacrifice.

"God bless America," Hudgens said.

Helen McFarland, sister of Constance McFarland who is being deployed, said she came to send off her brother to tell him "see you later," rather than goodbye.

"I will not say goodbye, because I know he'll be coming home," McFarland said.

Helen McFarland said she will miss her brother Constance because of the amount of support he brings to their family and they are here to show the same support.

"He's strong, he's a supporter," Helen McFarland said. "Good luck, be safe and just come back even stronger, and I love you."

Constance McFarland said having his family and other supporters fill the room will push him to stay focused, and come back a better and stronger man.

"Having their support is nothing but love to me, it makes me love harder," Constance McFarland said.