'Thank you for your support'
Capt. Jacob S. Partridge, Special to The Press
Posted: Friday, August 26, 2011 12:01 pm
Thursday morning – Aug. 18, 2011 – I arrived early at the Union City Armory to leave for another deployment. I first noticed the overwhelming support from the community as soon as I pulled in the parking lot because there was hardly a parking spot to be found.
I was preparing myself for a light turnout from the public, thinking that support for our troops might be declining as deployments continue to become more and more routine. I am so glad that I was wrong.
After loading the charter buses in the rear of the armory we pulled out to head to a chartered flight waiting for us at the Memphis airport.
As we pulled out we were led by law enforcement vehicles from the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Obion County Sheriff’s Department and the Union City Police Department. Immediately in front of and behind our three charter busses were what must have been 50-70 motorcycles ridden by the Patriot Guard. Behind them were fire trucks.
As we rode through Union City, the cheers from pedestrians lining the streets waving American flags and holding banners was truly touching. Having been a high school teacher in the past, it was especially meaningful to me to see the Union City students amongst those lining the road.
While passing through Troy, we were greeted by many more pedestrians and then overwhelmed with the site of the mass of high school students standing on the side of the highway cheering us on.
Then we made a small detour through Troy to circle through the elementary school where again, students lined the streets cheering and waiving.
As we pulled away from Troy, I thought we had seen the last of the supporters standing on the side of the road. Again I was wrong, almost the whole trip to Memphis we saw banners of support and pedestrians waving flags and saluting in almost every town we drove through all the way to Memphis.
Another unique part of this trip that I’ll never forget is that we drove all the way to Memphis without stopping. Every intersection in every town was blocked by law enforcement vehicles so that we could drive through the red lights. Our state trooper escort led us until we turned onto the airfield to pull up next to the plane.
The many Patriot Guard riders parked their bikes and lined the drive that lead to the gait of the flight line so as we drove through the gate we drove through a tunnel of American flags and true Patriots.
To everyone in all of the communities that supported the 913th EN CO Thursday morning, I thank you. As a Tennessee Guardsman that has deployed twice before, I know that the day you leave your loved ones is one of the worst days of the deployment.
The massive support that was displayed as our unit traveled from the Union City armory to the Memphis airport was amazing. Your awesome turnout not only made the day a little less painful for us, but forever etched in our memory your overwhelming support.
While enduring the hardships of deployments and combat, a Soldier will often reflect on those memories of such support to find the courage and strength to endure. In this way you have contributed to the defense of our nation and I cannot tell you how much I appreciate what you have done.
Jacob S. Partridge
CPT, EN , TNARNG
Commander, 913th EN CO