PASCAGOULA, Miss. (WLOX) - Coast students and youth council members gathered to create posters to give Mississippi National Guard soldiers a warm welcome home.
This Thursday is when the members with the Mississippi Army National Guard 859th Vertical Engineer Company are set to return. The group of 160 citizen-soldiers was deployed for the last year on a tour in the Middle East, and students wanted to do something special for the returning soldiers.
“Anything with soldiers coming back from hard, intensive work— anything to make them feel more welcomed in our town just feels awesome. This is something to contribute to their awesome hard work,” said Pascagoula High student, Jackelyn Facio.
The public is encouraged to grab an American flag, put on patriotic attire and line the roadways to welcome home the soldiers.
The convoy of buses is scheduled to arrive in Pascagoula around 4:30 p.m. Thursday. The buses will then travel east on Highway 90, north on Hospital Road, and end near the Armory in Pascagoula on Shortcut Road.
“If you’re going to come and line the route, which is what we want, we want everyone to do so while maintaining that safe social distance. So if you’re coming to park your car on the side of Highway 90, just make sure you give yourself some room for the next group. And even if you just want to stay in your car and flash your flashers and honk your horn, I’m sure soldiers would love to see a big welcome home,” said the city of Pascagoula Public Information Officer, Katarina Luketich.
Community members who would like to welcome the soldiers back are asked to line up along the route just before 4:30 p.m. and maintain proper social distancing by keeping groups less than 10 people and staying six feet apart from others.
The group of carpenters, plumbers, electricians, and mechanics were tasked with completing construction projects that benefit U.S. soldiers serving as part of Operation Inherent Resolve.