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Engineers to deploy to Afghanistan 
 
Members of the 379th Engineer Company 

Members of the 379th Engineer Company, Massachusetts Army National Guard listen to a speech by Massachusetts Governor, Deval L. Patrick at their send-off ceremony at Taconic High School in Pittsfield Mass., Feb. 29, 2010. The company plans to provide oversight of engineer missions such as repair, maintain, and construct air and ground communication systems; provide route clearing for transport; and force protection. (U.S. Army photo by  Sgt. James C. Lally, Massachusetts National Guard Public Affairs)

Denyce Joslyn-Sommers

Denyce Joslyn-Sommers listens to a speech at a send-off ceremony for her brother in law Army Sgt. 1st Class Frederick J. Sommers, 379th Engineer Company, Massachusetts Army National Guard at the Massasoit Conference Center in Brockton, Mass., Feb. 19, 2010. (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  

MILFORD
, Mass. – The Massachusetts National Guard held two separate send-off ceremonies for more than 160 Soldiers in Brockton and Pittsfield, Mass., Feb. 19, 2010.

The two groups that make up the 379th Engineer Company were housed in different armories located on opposite sides of the state; therefore, their send-off ceremonies were held separately in consideration of their families, friends and supporters.

The 379th Engineer Company’s armory is in Bourne, Mass., but their ceremony was held at the Massasoit Conference Center in Brockton. Detachment 1’s armory is in Pittsfield Mass., and their ceremony was held at the Taconic High School there. The unit is designed to function independently because of their varied mission capabilities such as providing route clearing for transport and repairing, maintaining, and constructing air and ground communication systems. 

Together as one unit, the 379th received yearlong mobilization orders to deploy to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Gov. Deval L. Patrick and Secretary of the Office of Public Safety and Security, Mary Elizabeth Heffernan, attended both ceremonies to show their support for the Soldiers and their families.

During his speech Patrick observed the mood of the Soldiers and their families during the ceremonies when he said, “There’s a mixture of pride and anxiety, you can see it on the faces of the families if you look around the room.”

The Soldiers commander, Army Maj. Gen. Joseph C. Carter, The Adjutant General, Massachusetts National Guard delivered the same message to both groups when he said, “You will be in our thoughts and prayers every day, and more importantly, we will remember and support your families.”

Amy Christian, whose husband is deploying with the 379th out of Pittsfield said “I really enjoyed the ceremony; I thought it was nice that the Governor came out for it.”

2/25/2010