August 24 , 2005
1st Lt. Tricia McCulla
CREW, Va. -- The Virginia Army National Guard honored the Soldiers, families and communities of the 3647th Maintenance Company with a “Soldier Salute Ceremony” held at Nottoway High School in Crewe Virginia on June 25, 2005.
Brig. Gen. John E. Sayers, Jr, Assistant Adjutant General for the Virginia National Guard said, “This celebration represents the commonwealth and the nation’s expression of gratitude to the citizen soldier and their families for their service during a time of war”.
The 175 Soldiers of the 3647th Maintenance Company were mobilized in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in December, 2003. There mission was to provide maintenance support for seven countries, four battalions, numerous companies and several tenant units from Baghdad south to the Kuwaiti border. There missions included vehicle maintenance, generator and air conditioner support, food service assistance and installing up-armor plates onto vehicles. The unit was released from active duty to return back to the Virginia National Guard on Mar. 8, 2005.
The Freedom Salute Campaign is the one of the largest Army National Guard recognition endeavors in history, designed to publicly acknowledge Army National Guard Soldiers who deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom and those who supported them during their call to duty.
This event marked their first drill weekend since returning from Iraq. They were presented with a multitude of gifts and awards. Each Soldier received an encased American Flag, a commemorative coin, a "Defender of Freedom" certificate and a lapel insignia. The Soldiers spouses received a lapel insignia while the Soldiers children were recognized and presented with a Future Soldier Footlocker Kit comprised of Guard-related items designed to entertain and educate young people.
“A wise man once said that strong character is build through your battles with adversity,” said Capt. Everton Nevers, the 3647th company commander, during his speech at the Freedom Salute Ceremony, “therefore this unit and community should not be lacking in character…we have answered the call for freedom and did not waiver in our responsibility.”
Awards and recognition also went out to individual supporters, local churches, schools and companies who helped fund and organize support for the troops during their deployment.
The families, communities and organizations played such an important role in assuring that the 3647th Maintenance Company successfully accomplished their mission. Sayers acknowledged this by saying thanks to the family and the community for their support. “Without you we cannot do our service”.