Thousands Say Goodbye To NC National Guard Unit

Thousands of friends and families are saying goodbye to a North Carolina National Guard unit heading to Iraq.

A capacity crowd gathered inside the Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville on Tuesday during a farewell ceremony for 3,800 members of the guard's 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team.

It's one of the last combat units headed to Iraq.

A battalion from West Virginia and a company from Colorado also
are being deployed.

Federal officials joined Gov. Beverly Perdue, members of Congress and military commanders in thanking the soldiers amid thunderous applause.

Secretary of the Army Pete Geren said the troops were "citizen soldiers in the finest tradition."

North Carolina Rep. Bob Etheridge added: "Together, we pray that God may keep you safe."

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  • by Lorraine Location: Ocala, FL on Apr 22, 2009 at 05:07 PM
    I was one of the fortunate mom's that got to see their son during the ceremony. I heart goes out to all those that were left in the cold. I lived in NC for 30 yrs. before moving to FL 3 yrs. ago. Now I know why I left. NC used to be a wonderful open arms welcome to all those who came to NC but not now especially for the NC Army National Guard who are giving the awe to protect and fight for the USA. When are you going to give a formal apology to those who were forced outside of the Colliseum?
  • by Soldier's Mom Location: I was there. on Apr 16, 2009 at 11:44 AM
    The Deployment Ceremony was impressive. Our Gov. Bev Perdue honored them well, a staunch supporter of the military in North Carolina. With W VA & Colorado as a part of this brigade, we North Carolinians had honorable guests among us, to bid our citizen soldiers farewell. Congressmen & officials honored our troops well. Families are proud and ready, as are our soldiers. I pray that 100% of them come home next year as well, fit, and able as they are now. Tears & sadness was to be expected; yet, anger, shock, & grief prevailed as Fayetteville's Crown Center Event Staff, & Fire Marshall did not foresee logistics for 4,800 soldiers and "their 2.3 family members." Just do the math. Soldiers went in to rehearse, then came out to eat with families. Folks inside did not get out to be with soldiers. Elderly, handicapped (my hubby), & children were denied restroom access & seating. Lots of food & sodas (free!) but no potty. Who planned this? This NC mom is shocked and embarrassed for our state.
  • by Soldier's Mom Location: I was a witness there. on Apr 16, 2009 at 11:17 AM
    Son's 1st deployment with 30th Heavy Brigade; 2 prior with 514th MP Co. Huband & I took another Mom & Sister from Gold Rock. Arrived 10:30, Son advised East lot, found Handicapped spot. Red Cross offered hot dogs, hamburgers, sodas to soldiers & families in parking lot sites at outer perimeter. We were not allowed in when we arrived. Soldiers came out to eat with families. Rain. Still not allowed in. No restroom access. Noon, still no access. One pm, Event Staff bullies families. Bark hysterical orders to families. Desperate, pleading, tearful (some): Wives, children, Moms, Dads, brothers, sisters harshly pushed aside. It was insane, cruel, rude & disorganized by Crown Center Event Staff. I witness CCES supervisor push 80 yr old woman to shut East door. Son advised us to North: he could see people coming in. Denied again. Pleading wife & child shoved away as CCES called for deputy. Absurd. Empty seats, vacated by soldiers to make room, were visible through door. Got in @ 2:20. Pray4USA
  • by Kristen Adams Location: Grimesland on Apr 15, 2009 at 08:53 PM
    This is my fiance's first tour of Iraq along with many of the other soldiers so Im here to say that Im preying for all of u you and for all of you to stay safe and to come home soon. Your country loves you and thank you for doing this.
  • by friends Location: h county on Apr 15, 2009 at 10:57 AM
    one of the boys from around here is going over to iraq for the first time may God be with everyone and may God bring you home safe we will be here in H county waiting for you to return no matter how long that may be we love you and take care
  • by karen Location: Pink Hill, nc on Apr 15, 2009 at 10:33 AM
    My thoughts and prayers go out to all of the soldiers. This is my son's first tour to Iraq. They should have everyone's susport because they are fighting for our FREEDOM. Please keep them in our prayers everyday.
  • by Erin Hemby on Apr 15, 2009 at 06:37 AM
    My thoughts and prayers go out to all the soldiers and being that my husband is one of them I hope that everyone will pray for there safe return. I love and miss my husband and I know that he will be safe. My thoughts and prayers go out to all the soldiers and there familys. Stay Army Strong. Hooah!!!!!!
  • by Tracey Location: NC on Apr 15, 2009 at 05:23 AM
    Keep safe and come home as soon as possible! I'll be praying for you all. Thanks for your service.
  • by Kimberly Location: Washington on Apr 15, 2009 at 03:54 AM
    Thank you for your service. God bless you and I pray for your safe return.
  • by Larry Location: Greenville on Apr 14, 2009 at 09:43 PM
    The story does not tell of the many family members that were left outside. The Great minds of NC thought that non profit groups were more important than the soldiers families. It is not that these soldiers want credit just that last moment for their wives, husbands, and children to see them off. That was what the ceromony was suppose to be. Nice Is it a wonder why the units nickname is dirty 30
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