The public is invited to join with area leaders and family members of the MS Army National Guard 859th Vertical Engineer Company as they depart Pascagoula this Saturday morning, June 29. The group of 160 citizen-soldiers is flying to Ft. Bliss in Texas for training, then will deploy to Kuwait. The convoy of buses is scheduled to depart the Armory in Pascagoula around 9 a.m. (Route and Times listed below.)
The Company has been called up in Operation Inherent Resolve and is expected to be gone for 9 months. Mayor Dane Maxwell of Pascagoula has declared this Saturday, June 29, as “Hometown Heroes Day” in Pascagoula.
“We want everyone on the Gulf Coast to join us, as we line the streets of the bus route Saturday and wave flags and cheer these men and women on to a successful Mission and safe return,” he said.
Maxwell will be joined by Gautier Mayor Phil Torjusen and Army Guard officials from the Battalion and Brigade the 859th Company is a part of. The Patriot Guard Riders will be in attendance, and several law enforcement agencies will be providing an escort for the convoy.
The sendoff bus trip will be streamed live on the City of Pascagoula’s Facebook Page (City of Pascagoula – Government) and posted to YouTube (City of Pascagoula – look for the blue lighthouse seal) after their arrival at the MS Air Guard hanger in Gulfport. Weather updates will be live-tweeted on Twitter at @pascagoulacity in the event of inclement weather.
Citizens participating in the flag wave are reminded to do so safely, especially when driving onto the shoulder of the roadway and exiting a vehicle. We remind everyone to arrive early, and please keep children under control at all times, please. (Pascagoula/Gautier – be parked by 8:30 a.m. – Gulfport well-wishers should be on the route by 9 a.m.)
“This is an emotional experience for all involved, and we just want our soldiers to feel our love and support as they head off to the Middle East. They are our hometown heroes,” Maxwell said. “When they are gone, we are going to make sure that their families – the children, spouses, and parents – know that they are loved and constantly in our prayers.”
THE ROUTE: Around 9 a.mm: From the Armory in Pascagoula, the bus convoy will head south on Hospital Road to Highway 90. They will proceed west on Highway 90 across the high-rise bridge and the causeway into Gautier. They will proceed through Gautier to Highway 57 at Ocean Springs/Gautier. The buses will proceed north on Highway 57 to Interstate 10 and head west to the exit in Gulfport for the Biloxi/Gulfport Airport (Highway 49).