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Kilgore plans send-off for its National Guard soldiers

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Posted: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 4:00 am | Updated: 7:54 am, Wed Apr 3, 2013.

Kilgore residents will spread a table Saturday to send off 110 members of Texas Army National Guard soldiers who are being deployed to Afghanistan.

A ceremony in Master’s Gymnasium at Kilgore College is set from noon to 1 p.m. for the public to thank Bravo Company, Third Battalion, 144th Infantry Regiment, which makes its home in Kilgore.

Most of the personnel are from Kilgore and East Texas, said Lt. Benjamin Blalock. Most others are from the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

After the ceremony, volunteers and businesses have organized a private picnic for the soldiers and their families.

“We plan to cook for about 425 to 450,” Mayor Ronnie Spradlin said, adding that people donating food, flags and other items have asked to remain anonymous.

“One bank in town gave us 500, 16-inch flags for families and participants,” Spradlin said. “One little lady volunteered to cook cakes and pies, even banana pudding, for 88.”

Blacklock said not every city sends off its home unit so warmly.

“I guess Kilgore’s really going all-out,” he said. “The soldiers of Bravo Company sincerely thank the people and businesses of Kilgore for their generous support of the Texas Army National Guard.”

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