Mississippi Soldiers Ship Out Today


The U.S. Army Reserve's 296th Transportation Company ships out today for final training in Wisconsin before heading to Iraq. The Mississippi company of 169 men and women, which was last deployed in 2003, will serve overseas for one year beginning in September, according to The Mississippi Press.

The city of Moss Point held an outdoor concert and dance for the soldiers and their families last night, according to the story.

Despite the significance of the evening, the mood was light with live music, picture-taking and conversation. At one point, a group of soldiers danced the electric slide to the delight of onlookers who broke out their cameras to capture the lighthearted moment.

Moss Point residents joined the soldiers for the evening, many of whom came to show their support, including World War II vet, Charles Hudson.

"I'm just patriotic," Hudson told the Mississippi Press.

"I'm excited," said Staff Sgt. Jimmie Matthews. "I hate leaving my family, but it's my job. That's why I wear the uniform."

Matthews' family includes his wife of five years and two children, a 12-year-old daughter and a son who turns 4 next month.

This is his second deployment to Iraq and third tour overseas.

"It's always hard when they leave," his wife, Tabatha Matthews, said.

The soldiers are deploying into a war that has raged on since March 19, 2003, and is responsible for more than 4,300 American deaths and more than 31,000 wounded. An estimated 2 million Iraqi civilians are still displaced by the war, and roughly 100,000 have died, according to Iraq Body Count.


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