(Photo and information provided by the City of Pascagoula)
The MS Army National Guard 859th Vertical Engineer Company based in Pascagoula are departing the Gulf Coast on Saturday the 29th to prepare for their deployment to Kuwait.
The send-off for the “Hometown Heroes”, a group of 160 citizen-soldiers who will be flying to Ft. Bliss in Texas for training, then deploying to Kuwait. The convoy of buses is scheduled to depart the Armory in Pascagoula around 9:00 am.
LINE THE CAUSEWAY! WAVE A FLAG!
The Company has been called up in Operation Inherent Resolve and is expected to be gone for 9 months. Mayor Dane Maxwell of Pascagoula has declared this Saturday, June 29th as “Hometown Heroes Day” in Pascagoula.
“We want everyone on the Gulf Coast to join us, as we line the streets of the bus route Saturday and wave flags and cheer these men and women on to a successful Mission and safe return,” he said.
Maxwell will be joined by Gautier Mayor Phil Torjusen and Army Guard officials from the Battalion and Brigade the 859th Company is a part of. The Patriot Guard Riders will be in attendance, and several law enforcement agencies will be providing an escort for the convoy.
Citizens participating in the flag wave are reminded to do so safely, especially when driving onto the shoulder of the roadway and exiting a vehicle. We remind everyone to arrive early, and please keep children under control at all times, please.
(Pascagoula/Gautier – be parked by 8:30 am – Gulfport well-wishers should be on the route by 9:00 am.)
“This is an emotional experience for all involved, and we just want our soldiers to feel our love and support as they head off to the Middle East. They are our hometown heroes,” said Maxwell. “When they are gone, we are going to make sure that their families – the children, spouses, and parents – know that they are loved and constantly in our prayers,” he said.
Around 9:00 am: From the Armory in Pascagoula, the bus convoy will head south on Hospital Road to Highway 90. They will proceed west on Highway 90 across the high-rise bridge and the causeway into Gautier. They will proceed through Gautier to Highway 57 at Ocean Springs/Gautier. The buses will
proceed north on Highway 57 to Interstate 10 and head west to the exit in Gulfport for the Biloxi/Gulfport Airport (Highway 49).
BEST PLACES TO PARK AND WAVE:
If you’re traveling from the east (Mobile, AL) – the best place to park and stand on the shoulder of the road will be anywhere along Highway 90, westbound, from Hospital Road to Pascagoula St. (BEFORE 8:30 am)
The entire Causeway (MLK Highway) west, after the high-rise bridge, will have parking on the shoulder and a good view of the buses. Please exit/re-enter Causeway safely. (BEFORE 8:30 am)
If you are in Gautier or Ocean Springs or traveling from the west, we recommend anywhere on the westbound side of Highway 90 in Gautier, as well as the northbound shoulder on Highway 57 across from the Sunplex.
There is NO STOPPING/PARKING ALLOWED ON INTERSTATE 10 unless you have an emergency.
If you are in Gulfport you can travel to Airport Road and see the convoy. The bus convoy will disembark at the MS Air National Guard facility, adjacent to the Biloxi/Gulfport Airport. Please be in place by 9:00 am safely on the shoulder of Airport Rd.
Safety first! Please bring ponchos or umbrellas in the event of light rain. If thunderstorms occur during the event, please return to your cars. Remember to always use headlights (no high beams) so you are visible to others and signal your lane changes when exiting or re-entering the roadways, especially in the rain. Watch your children closely, please.