Major John didn't want to talk about it, but I do. I have to say, "Wow." The send off for the portion of the 108th Sustainment
Brigade who are being deployed was done very well.
When we left for the Mobilization station early in 2004, I felt the way I imagined the Baltimore Colts did when they slunk out of town in the middle of the night.
This time the armory at North Riverside was more crowded than I had ever seen it, maybe even more so than when we came back. American Veteran Motorcycle Riders Association (AVMRA
) Chapter 7 (CSM
Medina and his wife are members) was there handing out stuff and helping our FRG
sell tee shirts, the American Legion
was making pillow cases and the USO
was there passing out goodies.
Among the dignitaries, I spied the Adjutant General of Illinois, MG Enyart
, the Assistant Adjutant General, Army (number 2 guy in the state) BG Celletti
and Judy Barr Topinka
(former Illinois State Treasurer).
They didn't have a lousy tape recorder playing a bad copy of the National Anthem; they had a real singer who would have made Wayne Messmer
As I mentioned the American Legion was there. They have a special program going on. They send teams out whenever a unit is deploying and they take photos, of the soldier, of their families or both and they iron-on the photo to pillowcases. The soldier can then take along their family when they go or the spouse can continue to "sleep with" their loved one until he or she come home. It's great.
The Berwyn VFW
and Chapter 7 of the AVMRA
have adopted the 108th
I don't happen to have any photos of the event myself, but WLS
channel 7 was there and they did a nice piece that you can see here