Oswego community bids farewell to local heroes
February 2, 2012
Oswego, N.Y. -- The Oswego community showed up in full force to demonstrate their support and bid farewell to their local heroes, the men and women of the 444th Engineer Company, during a mobilization ceremony Jan. 31, 2012.
Speakers at the event included military officials, Oswego Mayor Tom Gillen, and representatives from SUNY Oswego and the offices of Assemblyman Will Barclay and Senator Patty Ritchie.
The last time the 444th Eng. Co. deployed as a unit was in 2003. Leadership, however, is confident in the unit's ability to accomplish their new mission in Afghanistan. Several members have already completed 3, 4 and 5 deployments.
One official noted that these seasoned veterans, equipped with valuable knowledge, skills and prior deployments, have and will continue to provide the necessary support to ensure the young and less experienced are ready, able and confident to achieve the unit's goals and objectives.
The ceremony was coordinated in large part by the "Thank A Service Member", an Oswago-based group, founded in 2006, to boost support for Soldiers and their families.
As reported in Oswego County Today, Pete Allen, executive director of the organization, presented the company with a poster signed by community members and a commemorative Challenge Coin for each member Soldier. Their wives and other loved ones received a yellow carnation -- a symbol of their devotion to a family member serving overseas.
"To the soldiers of the 444th, it is our hope that when you look at this coin, you are reminded of our sincere appreciation for your service and sacrifice," Allen said. "We are overwhelmingly proud of you and we wish each and every one of you a safe and successful mission."