National Guard group leads parade, deployed Wednesday
Jul 07, 2010 | 4457 views | 1 1 comments | 38 38 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The 118th Sapper Company will leave San Juan County this week for a one-year deployment in Afghanistan.  The departing soldiers were honored in a series of events in the past week, including the Independence Day parade. Scott Boyle photo
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Soldiers from the 118th Sapper Company, based in part in Blanding, begin a one year deployment to the Middle East today, Wednesday, July 7.

The group will say goodbye to family and friends and begin a process that will result in service in Afghanistan after a period of training in the United States.

The soldiers were the focus of the annual Independence Day celebration in Blanding, leading the parade and being showered with support.

Approximately 40 local residents are members of the group, which was last deployed to serve in Iraq in 2003.

The departing troops were on the minds of many throughout the celebration, from a speech at the Mayor’s breakfast by Brigadier General Jefferson S. Burton, to a poignant ceremony during the parade, to a rousing flyover by F-15 fighter jets.

A family dance in support of the soldiers was held on Friday, July 2 and a dinner for the soldiers and their families was scheduled for Tuesday, July 6, well after the press deadline.

While the deployment was the focus of the celebration, there were plenty of events to keep everyone busy and entertained. Large crowds filled the stands at a number of performances and sporting events.
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July 07, 2010
I just wanted to quickly say thank you to everyone that turned out to support the troops this morning. It was an overwhelming and emotional experience, one I know the soldiers will never forget.
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