Bravo Company deploying overseasBy BETH BUNCH,
U.S. Hwy. 49 was a sea of red, white and blue Tuesday morning as Hattiesburg residents and those from across the Pine Belt lined the busy highway to show support for area soldiers being deployed.
Soldiers from Bravo Company/106th Brigade Support Battalion traveled to Fort Bliss, Texas, where they will join the 155th Combat Unit for training before heading to Afghanistan in June. The deployment is scheduled to last nine months.
Mayor Toby Barker and his family, along with other city officials, law enforcement officers and military personnel were also on hand.
“Every day, I am impressed by the creativity, the work and the passion of the people of this city,” Barker said. “But on certain days, I am so in awe and impressed by how those people step up for their fellow citizens.”
Those lining the busy street waved flags of all sizes, while others held signs of encouragement for loved ones. At the Fourth Street overpass, two Hattiesburg Fire Department laddertrucks suspended a large American flag as people lined the edges of the overpass.
Daryl Gail Jensen of Petal and family members stood at the roadside as they waited for the buses carrying her brother-in-law, a member of the battalion.
Jenson admitted to getting emotional when it comes to military matters.
“Anytime we go to a military dinner and they have the table for the missing in action soldiers, I just cry,” she said. “I cry at the (military) reunion videos on Facebook for people that I don’t even know.”
But deployment is something you’d think the the family has become used to.
Jenson’s father was deployed in 2005, her husband, Ryan, in 2011 and on Tuesday her brother-in-law. “We are rampant with military in our family. You’d think we would be used to this by now,” she said as emotions ran high among many family members who lined the streets.
Morgan Smith had tear-stained cheeks as she held tightly to her daughter, Wrenleigh. Their husband and father, Mark Smith, is being deployed alongside other South Mississippi soldiers. The two had said goodbye to their loved one earlier on post.
Wrenleigh embraced a teddy bear with her dad’s picture safely protected behind a piece of plastic on the bear’s belly. A set of her dad’s dog tags hung around the bear’s neck.
The Ulmer Family – Jim and Susan Ulmer and son, James, from Beaumont, had last seen their son and brother, Albert Dewayne Enslin, at the Armory at Camp Shelby earlier in the morning before making their way to U.S. 49 to stand alongside families.
As the procession approached, Susan had her Iphone ready to film the law enforcement officials as they escorted precious cargo north on U.S. Hwy. 49.
“It’s exciting, but sad at the same time,” she said of her son, who joined up right after high school. This will be his first deployment.
“We are proud, said Jim. “This is the career he chose. It’s just a part of it.”