ROGERSVILLE — A unit of 33 soldiers in the Tennessee National Guard’s Rogersville-based 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment will be well supplied with snacks when it deploys Thursday morning to help resolve rioting and civil unrest in Washington, D.C.
While members of the 278th’s Det. 1 Trp. D Forward Support Company were training Wednesday afternoon for their new mission, volunteers with the Rogersville-based Project Serve Our Soldiers was completing a mission of their own.
Eight women were in the conference room of the Rogersville Chamber of Commerce offices filling bags with candy bars, raisins, cookies, nuts, pies, fruit, crackers and other goodies to make care packages for the departing soldiers.
Project coordinator Corki Weart said the snacks will hopefully provide a welcome supplement to the Army rations these soldiers will be stuck with for the duration of their deployment.
“When our soldiers are deployed, whether it’s the National Guard or another branch, we try to send them goodies and snacks and things that they can’t run off and go get when they’re deployed,” Weart said.
“We will be praying for you”
The volunteers made approximately 40 care packages, after which Weart and Chamber of Commerce Director Nancy Barker rendezvoused with the Guardsmen at the Rogersville Armory to deliver the snacks as well as a prayer for their safe return.
“We just want to tell you thank you for all you do all the time, what you do for the community, and let you know that our prayers will be with you as you go on this journey,” Barker told the soldiers. “I know it’s not something that you probably want to do, but duty calls and you’re always willing to do what you have to do. We just want to say thank you. Stay safe. Stay healthy, and know that we will be praying for you.”
On Tuesday, Gov. Bill Lee announced that approximately 1,000 members of 278th ACR will be mobilized, and the group is expected to be on the ground in Washington, D.C., on Saturday.
Q&A with Sgt. Alex Mowry
Mowry, who has been with the Rogersville unit for 10 years, told the Times News Wednesday the mission of his unit is to provide security during the civil disturbances in the nation’s capital, but he doesn’t know how long they will be there.
What is your unit’s specific job?
“For this unit ‘FSC’ means Forward Support Company. We support the combat MOS’ (Military Occupational Specialties) and CAV Scouts in everything they need to do from providing them mechanical support, recovery support, fuel support, food support — anything you would need to do your daily lives and living.”
Are your soldiers from the Hawkins County area?
“There are some soldiers from the Hawkins County area. There are some soldiers from Sullivan County, Washington County, Carter County, Unicoi County. We’re all kind of local around the Tri-Cities.”
Do you have a dangerous job ahead of you?
“The unknown makes it dangerous.”
Are most of your group longtime veterans?
“Yes, most of the unit, probably 75% of the unit, are seasoned veterans. … Actually we have 12 guys here brand new. This is their first time ever. This is their first rodeo.”
What does it mean to your unit for these ladies to provide care packages for your deployment?
“The local community making us goody bags and snacks, it truly means everything to us. Most of the time when we’re in a field type of environment, we’re living off of MREs (Meals Ready to Eat), pretty much preservative food, so having true snacks and food means the world to me and the unit.”