CONCORD, Mass. — Massachusetts Army National Guard Soldiers filled the fields surrounding the historic Old North Bridge here Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014, as their friends, family members, and National Guard leadership wished a local National Guard unit well during a send-off ceremony.
Soldiers from the 182nd Medical Company, Massachusetts Army National Guard, based in Lexington, Mass., will head to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to provide health service support. The unit will train at Fort Hood, Texas, before mobilizing to the Middle East.
“It is such a privilege to be here this morning on these historical grounds,” said Congresswoman Katherine Clark, 5th Congressional District, Massachusetts, at the ceremony. “They say that things get better with age, and the 182nd Medical Company is the US Army’s oldest medical company. I am honored to be in the presence of the very best.”
“This is the birthplace of American liberty,” said Maj. Gen. L. Scott Rice, The Adjutant General, Massachusetts National Guard. “That is the Concord Bridge right there. Home of the ‘shot heard round the world.’ And now we are sending the Army’s oldest medical unit overseas to assist our brothers and sisters in Afghanistan.”
The medical personnel of the 182nd have trained for this deployment and are ready for any challenges ahead of them, according to the unit’s commander, Maj. Joseph Puliafico.
“As I earlier looked at this beautiful vista behind me, I saw the North Bridge,” he said, pointing to the historic landmark in the close distance. “This is the starting point where America chose to take its first stand against tyranny. The statue that you see in the distance is that of the Minuteman, which is the symbol of our National Guard. It represents a farmer who leaves his plow and picks up his musket. The tools may have changed a bit, but the job is unchanged. These Citizen-Soldiers before you will complete the mission and return home, just like the Minuteman.”
Soldiers of the company have received approximately nine-month long mobilization orders in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The company had previously deployed to Iraq in 2003 – 2004 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
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