Troops saluted

Published 7:26 am Wednesday, January 23, 2013

American Legion Magic City Post 24 and community members joined together Tuesday to show their support for the Headquarters Company of the Louisiana Army National Guard’s 205th Engineer Battalion, deploying Jan. 31 for a year in Kuwait.

While citizens lined the streets of Bogalusa, many with an American flag in hand, the soldiers paraded at noon from the National Guard Amory on Louisiana Highway 10 to the American Legion Home.

Of the 130 troops set to deploy, the roughly 80 who reside in Washington Parish and their families were treated to a meal of spaghetti and meatballs, prepared by Annie Blackburn and served by members of the Bogalusa High School Student Council.

Among those participating in the event was Bogalusa City Councilwoman Penny Douglas-Williams and her son, guardsman Janeiro Williams. The luncheon provided an opportunity to spend some time together before he deploys.

“I’m smiling now, but I’m going to be crying next week when he leaves,” she said.

As the meal wrapped up a program was held. Richard Knight gave a history of the unit; government, American Legion and unit officials gave speeches; and various presentations took place.

Major Scott Slaven, 205th Battalion commander, said he was truly humbled when he found out the Legion was holding the event for the battalion.

“This event today symbolizes more than just lunch,” he said. “It symbolizes a community coming together to show their support for the soldiers of this battalion.

“A battalion is made up of many soldiers who reside or were raised in this parish. I for one grew up in Mt. Hermon, and I’m proud of the fact that I grew up a small town in this parish, and I’m also proud of the fact that the headquarters of the 205th is here in Bogalusa.”

The soldiers, Slaven said, will “continue the long proud lineage of the 205th.

“And we will accomplish our mission, anytime, anyplace, hence our motto, ‘Come what will,’” he said.

Soldiers attending the luncheon included Perry Douglas, who said the meal was superb, and Nathan Sheridan, who noted the large number of community supporters.

“It was nice to see the town come out and support the troops,” he said.

Post 24 Vice Commander Mike Henley said he wanted to thank the members of the post and everyone who had anything to do with making the event happen.

“There’s too lengthy a list of people who have contributed, either financially or with services and goods, to name,” he said. “The outpouring of sup-

port for this event today has been unlike anything that I’ve ever seen in Washington Parish.”