Company B headed home

Published 2:57 pm Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The long awaited moment is near — Poplarville’s citizen soldiers are coming home.

Bravo Company, 1-155 Combined Arms Battalion based in Poplarville was deployed to Iraq for the second time early in 2009. It was placed on alert for the current deployment in December of 2007. The unit’s first deployment to Iraq was in January, 2005, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and it returned to Mississippi in January, 2006.

Janice Smith, Family Readiness Group chairperson, said Monday that the soldiers of Bravo Company would be coming into Camp Shelby “in the next few weeks.”

Master Sgt. (Ret) James Roberson, Readiness NCO with the Mississippi National Guard in Poplarville, confirmed the unit’s return but could not provide any more specifics.

Exact times and other details are not available at present for security reasons.

Smith urged all businesses and residents begin preparations as soon as possible to welcome the soldiers home.

“We need them to put out yellow ribbons and flags since yesterday,” she said.

Smith said for those interested in helping, or for more information, she can be reached at 228-326-9564.

The Poplarville Area Chamber of Commerce and city of Poplarville also are getting the word out to businesses to decorate their store fronts and display the American flag. The city will put out its stock of American flags as part of the welcoming event.

An official welcoming event may be held at some point as more information becomes available. In the past, the city and other organizations have coordinated both send-offs and welcoming events to show area support for local units in their deployments.

In support of the second deployment, The North Pearl River Ministerial Association signed a Community Covenant with the unit on Dec. 4, 2008. Ministers of the association promised to personally pray for the soldiers and their families daily, encourage their churches to pray for them, and to lead their churches in tangible methods of giving support.

The Poplarville Rotary Club also made a formal commitment to support the soldiers and families of Bravo Company throughout the deployment. Part of that commitment included assisting family members with needs that may occur by locating resources that can help them meet the need.