When the 250 members of the Indiana National Guard’s 38th Sustainment Brigade prepared to deploy overseas last week, nearly 1,500 people crowded into the Kokomo Event Center to give them a proper sendoff. Family and friends spent precious, special time with their loved ones before seeing them ship overseas for duty. The entire sendoff event was to make sure the soldiers knew they were cared for, loved, and will be sorely missed until they return safely home.
A military band was even present at the event to play the Army song and the National Anthem for the soldiers as they prepared to deploy overseas — some for the first time, some for another of several tours of duty.
Led by Col. Kimberly Martindale and Command Sgt. Maj. Scott Andrews, members of the 38th Sustainment Brigade will be joining military forces supporting U.S. Central Command. The unit has spent the past 16 months training for the deployment, and while some may have felt anxious about the deployment, all of them felt supported and loved thanks to the amazing sendoff event.
That show of support should stick with them as they are serving overseas, and the families are sure to be anxiously awaiting their return when they can give them an equally amazing homecoming.
“This gives me a little bit of closure before leaving,” Warrant Officer Charles Weeks told the Kokomo Tribune. “That’s a good thing. It’s good knowing that everybody at home is thinking about us and supporting us. That makes a big difference.”
The National Guard unit first goes to Fort Hood, Texas, for additional training before deploying overseas, where they will spend time performing operations in Kuwait, Jordan, Iraq, and Syria.
The Indiana Guardsmen also had some special visitors at their sendoff. Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, U.S. Sens. Joe Donnelly and Todd Young, U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita and Indiana Adjutant Gen. Courtney Carr were all present at the ceremony and gave brief speeches.
“For the past year, you all have embraced this mission,” General Carr told the brigade. “I’m confident you’re ready. Your training has prepared you for the challenges ahead. You can be confident in what you’ve learned. I know you will excel. … You’re not just any soldiers. You’re Indiana National Guard soldiers. Never quit.”
Watch this great video of the members of the Indiana National Guard’s deployment ceremony!