Wishing them well

Farewell ceremony planned for 278th deployment

Residents are being encouraged to line the streets of Maryville and Alcoa to wish members of the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment well as they depart for training in Mississippi before they deploy to Iraq.

A farewell ceremony for the Maryville-based Howitzer Battery, 1st Squadron of the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 6. The unit is scheduled to depart for Camp Shelby, Miss., where it will prepare for its February deployment to Iraq.

County Mayor Jerry Cunningham will serve as Master of Ceremonies with opening statements beginning at 8:30 a.m. Next, Boy Scout Troop 81 will present the flag and lead the group in the Pledge of Allegiance followed by singer Jackie Midkiff with a special musical tribute.

City of Maryville Mayor Tom Taylor, Alcoa City Manager Mark Johnson and Cunningham will recognize the unit with a joint proclamation from the three governments. State Sen. Doug Overbey will present the group a Tennessee state flag to take with them and retired 278th Chaplin Pastor Richard Blackburn will give the closing invocation.

Due to space and parking limitations at the armory, the farewell ceremony will only be open to family members, but the public is invited to show their support and bid farewell to the regiment along the parade route as it departs. The regiment will depart at 9:15 a.m.

The Dixie Iron Riders Motorcycle Riding Organization will ride with the troops as they leave the armory by turning left onto West Lamer Alexander Parkway. They will continue to West Broadway Ave through Maryville. Next, they will make a left hand turn on to North Cusick Street, taking Calderwood Street and Louisville Road through Alcoa.

Then they will turn left onto Alcoa Hwy. going back to Lamar Alexander Parkway past the armory one last time as they travel to Lenoir City where they will be joined by the Pigeon Forge detachment on to their final journey to Camp Shelby.

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Comments » 1

RSVolunteer writes:

I attended the send off with my husband and took our two grandsons to show support. I know it was a cold cold morning, but it was very disappointing to see just a handful of residents out to see them off at the start of the procession...and most of those were family of the soldiers! I would have thought that Blount County could have shown more support.