Guard to honor its own Sunday

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 9, 2004

DEMOPOLIS-The 167th Engineer Company of the Alabama National Guard will host its Freedom Salute Awards Ceremony at the Demopolis Civic Center on Sunday, Aug. 8 at 2 p.m.

SSG Sgt. Ruby Vickers with the 167th Engineer Company said they expected about 100 to 110 soldiers and their families at the ceremony. He said this will be the largest celebration the company has ever had.

“We hope everyone that came out to support us when we left for Iraq will come back out to see us receive our awards,” Vickers said. “United States Congressman Artur Davis will be on hand to speak to the soldiers and also offer congratulations.”

Representatives with the U.S. Army National Guard held a presentation Aug. 16 at the Demopolis City Hall to tell Mayor Caldwell and the City of Demopolis about “The Freedom Salute Campaign.”

LT. Danny Crosby presented a power point presentation telling Caldwell and the city clerk Vickie Taylor about the upcoming campaign.

“The Freedom Salute Campaign is a campaign to honor and retain America’s heroes who have served their nation in the cause of Freedom,” Crosby said.

He said this campaign is the largest one ever put on in the history of the Army National Guard and its main goal is to honor the soldiers, their families and their Centers of Influence.

“Every soldier who participated in operations NOBLE EAGLE, ENDURING FREEDOM, or IRAQI FREEDOM is eligible for this honor,” Crosby said.

He said this is an important part in helping the Army National Guard recognize its soldiers that dropped everything when they were called to.

“Our soldiers deserve the best. All gave some, some gave all,” Crosby said.

He said each soldier, family, unit and COI will receive top-quality recognition items from the National Guard Bureau.

He also said each soldier will receive an encased American flag, a sequentially numbered commemorative coin, a Defender of Freedom certificate, a lapel insignia set, a future soldier footlocker kit, and each soldier will receive a commemorative lapel insignia and medallion with ribbon to present to their Center of Influence.

“A soldier’s Center of Influence could include their employers, pastors, schools or organizations,” Crosby said.

He said as well as the soldiers receiving these recognition items, their units will receive some items as well. He also said each unit would receive a banner for each operation it participated in.

“Each unit will also designate an Outstanding COI and a Distinguished COI,” Crosby said.

He said the individual that is designated Outstanding COI is someone that prominently stood out as most helpful to the soldiers during mobilization. He also said that person would receive a framed mosaic American Flag print.

He said the individual that is designated Distinguished COI is someone that the unit felt was most helpful to its soldiers and their families during mobilization. He also said that person would receive a 17-inch minuteman statue.