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Deploying Soldiers honored at TD Garden 
TD Garden send-off ceremony 
Maj. Gen. Joseph C. Carter, The Adjutant General, Massachusetts National Guard addresses the families and Soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 101st Field Artillery, 164th Transportation Battalion and Regional Corps Advisory Group at the units’ send-off ceremony held at the TD Garden in Boston, Jan. 3, 2010. The 101st Field Artillery and the RCAG will deploy in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and the 164th Transportation Battalion will support Operation Iraqi freedom. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. James C. Lally, Massachusetts National Guard Public Affairs) 
By Army Sgt. James C. Lally, Massachusetts National Guard Public Affairs 

The Massachusetts National Guard held a send-off ceremony for approximately 650 Soldiers at the TD Garden here, Jan. 3, 2010.

Soldiers from three different units received yearlong mobilization orders and are scheduled to deploy in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The ceremony was held to recognize the service and sacrifice of Soldiers and their families in defense of the United States.

To recognize the role that the families of Guardsmen play in the Global War on Terror, Gov. Deval L. Patrick said, “To the families and the loved ones of these National Guard members, I know this is your sacrifice too. I know there are birthdays, holidays and other special occasions and just ordinary days when you will ache for their companionship. I want you to know that we appreciate your role in the success of this mission. You will be in our hearts and our prayers as well.”

Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, more than 50,000 Guardsmen have been called upon by both their States and the Federal government to provide security at home and combat terrorism abroad.

To relate the significance of the day’s event to National policy, Army Maj. Gen. Joseph C. Carter, The Adjutant General, Massachusetts National Guard, said, “Today’s deployment of 650 Soldiers is the largest single deployment undertaken since September 2001 when the Nation’s overseas contingency operations commenced. While approximately 7,500 Massachusetts National Guard members have deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere since September 2001; in the coming year the Massachusetts National Guard will deploy 3,700 members in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.” These numbers are especially significant considering the Massachusetts National Guard consists of 8,341 Guardsmen.

TD Garden supported the Soldiers and their families by hosting the event at no cost to the Massachusetts National Guard, the Soldiers, or their families. Sgt Miguel J. Fana, from G Company, 186th Brigade Support Battalion said, “I thought the ceremony was great. The place looked great, the video display was great and so were all of the people.” Like many other Soldiers in the audience this deployment will be Fana’s second. Fana deployed in 2004 to Iraq with the 42nd Division Artillery, Massachusetts Army National Guard.

The support from private organizations like the TD Garden often boosts a service member’s moral, but often it can be a more personal gesture that has an impact such as taking the time to come to a send-off ceremony and shake a Soldiers hand. It was in this kind of spirit that Radio DJ Kennedy Elsey from MIX 104.1’s “Karson & Kennedy In the Morning” showed her support for the troops. Elsey displayed her patriotism by singing the “Star-Spangled Banner” to open the ceremony. Elsey, who is widely known as Kennedy said, “I was honored just to be asked to perform the anthem at this amazing ceremony. My ex-husband is in the Army and I know the costs that come along with being an Army family. I wanted to be able to support the soldiers and their families in that very small way,” said Kennedy.

While deployed, the 164th Transportation Battalion will provide heavy equipment transport capabilities for staging and sustainment operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the full range of joint and coalition military operations. 

The 1st Battalion, 101st Field Artillery and the Regional Corps Advisory Group will be responsible for supporting and mentoring Afghan police/army in regard to operations, training and policy development in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The deploying unit armories are located in Brockton, Danvers, Quincy, Fall River, Dorchester, Hingham, Framingham, Worcester and Milford.