Miss. Guard’s special forces soldiers to receive awards

Published 11:58 pm Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Mississippi National Guard will honor roughly 100 of its special forces soldiers on Sunday with awards for their service in the war in Afghanistan.

The members of the 2nd Battalion, 20th Special Forces deployed to Afghanistan in September of last year, participating in numerous special operations missions, said Lt. Col. Tim Powell, a Guard spokesman. When they returned from the deployment in September 2006, it marked the end of the second or third tour in Afghanistan for many of the men.

Medals to be awarded Sunday include the Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal and the Purple Heart.

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One member of the unit, Staff Sgt. Christopher L. Robinson, was killed during the deployment.

Robinson, 36, of Brandon died March 25, 2005, when he was shot during a combat patrol near the Sangain District, Powell has said.

Maj. Gen. Harold A. Cross, Mississippi’s adjutant general, Brig. Gen. James B. Gaston, Jr., commander of 66th Troop Command, and Lt. Col. Robert “Stacy” Coleman, commander of the 2nd Battalion, 20th Special Forces, will all be on hand for the ceremony.

The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. Sunday at the National Guard Headquarters in Jackson.