Story by: Lt. Col. King
EASTOVER, S.C. – Members of the 351st Aviation Support Battalion, South Carolina Army National Guard, cased their battalion colors during a departure ceremony Feb. 15, 2015, at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, Eastover, South Carolina, for an upcoming deployment to Kuwait.
The adjutant general for South Carolina, Maj. Gen. Robert E. Livingston Jr., addressed the more than 150 deploying Soldiers in front of hundreds of family and friends attending the event, held at the Army Aviation Support facility on the base.
“South Carolina contributes so much to our nation,” said Livingston. “We cannot thank our families enough for their sacrifices and for what these Soldiers are about to do to continue to protect our freedoms.”
The 351st ARB is deploying to provide support to the 185th Theater Aviation Brigade for Operation Spartan Shield. The unit will depart for training for approximately a month to Texas before deploying to Kuwait.
“These Soldiers have been preparing for this deployment and stand ready to execute their missions,” said Livingston.
The battalion commander, Lt. Col. Pete Nelson, cased the 351st ARB colors with the state aviation officer, Col. James Barkley, symbolizing the unit’s departure. The unit will be providing aviation support functions that include fueling operations, maintenance and logistics.
Family members, friends, supporters and volunteers with the Patriot Guard looked on as the formation of troops stood at attention during the playing of the “Army Song” before being dismissed to make final preparations. Many children in the crowd waved small American flags.
“We are proud of these Soldiers and know they will perform their duties with excellence.” said Livingston. “The world remains an unsafe place and National Guard Soldiers continue to go in harm’s way to protect our nation.”