243 Mississippi National Guard soldiers got a big send off in Brandon Thursday morning as they head for active duty overseas.
The 112th Headquarters Batallion from Canton and the 113th Military Police Company from Brandon will spend about ten months providing border security between Iraq and Kuwait.
The ceremony was in the Brandon City Hall, which is an old Jitney Premier Food Store on Highway 80. It was packed with more than 1,500 people. Mayors William Truly of Canton and Tim Coulter of Brandon spoke.
"We all pray for you, we all want you to return home safely. God bless everyone of you, God bless your family and God bless America," said Mayor William Truly of Canton.
Mayor Tim Coulter of Brandon said, "I'm gonna say three things. Call your wife, call your mama, keep your head down, and see you soon."
After the ceremony, the hugging and kissing began as soldiers said goodbye to their loved ones.
They will be in Kuwait, providing border security between Iraq and Kuwait for about ten months.
Two of those parting are Sergeant Major Darrell Masterson and his wife, Karen, of Madison.
"It's always hard leaving the families, and you hate to leave the families but you know you want to support the family and country having tours overseas," said Sgt. Major Masterson.
His wife added, "I can't believe how hard it is you know, you get used to him being home, and having routines together."
The soldiers were transported to Camp Shelby for additional training by civilian buses.
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