Hundreds of New Hampshire residents gathered in Hooksett last Saturday to bid farewell to nearly 100 soldiers who are going to serve overseas.
Two Manchester-based New Hampshire Army National Guard batteries are being deployed to the Middle East for a period of one year. Seventy-three soldiers are from Headquarters Battery, 197th Field Artillery Brigade and 20 are from Battery E, 197th Field Artillery Regiment.
A fire department ladder truck displayed a massive American flag, and an Army band played patriotic songs, as people from all walks of life held up cameras and smartphones to photograph the soldiers and the celebration.
The New Hampshire National Guard’s Major General William Reddel III spoke to soldiers as well as their friends and families at the Southern New Hampshire University field house.
Addressing the gathering, Reddel said, “I know you guys are going to come back showing the regular Army, showing the Reserves, and showing the National Guard, how things are done in New Hampshire … we bring to the fight, every day, whether it’s a federal mission or a state mission.”
Gov. Maggie Hassan, Sen. Kelly Ayotte, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, and Rep. Frank Guinta all attended the deployment ceremony, and expressed their gratitude to the soldiers for keeping them safe.