Armory

Members of the Kentucky National Guard will be leaving Somerset on Saturday for an overseas deployment.

If you’re looking for something to do this Saturday morning, why not come to downtown Somerset and help create good old fashioned sendoff to a group of deploying servicemen and women?

Members of the Kentucky National Guard Bravo Company 1-149th Infantry will be leaving for an overseas assignment from the Kentucky National Guard Armory on Grand Avenue.

They should be leaving sometime between 9:15 and 9:30 a.m. Saturday morning, according to City of Somerset Communications Director Julie Harris, which means Harris and city officials are asking people to be in place around 9 a.m.

“I think East Mount Vernon Street is going to be the best place for people to stand and watch them come by,” Harris said.

She added that the Energy Center will have boxes of flags by the front entrance for anyone who wants to come by and pick up a flag to wave as the buses go by.

Or, if people have their own flags on hand, they are encouraged to bring those.

The buses plan to travel down East Mount Vernon Street toward the Fountain Square, then turn right onto Main Street.

From there, the buses will eventually make their way on to Lincoln County, where SFC Phillip Stickler, Somerset’s Armory manager, said that Lincoln County officials have another gathering planned.

What does such a sendoff mean to the National Guard personnel? Stickler said that because National Guard members are often called out for civil service within the community and for natural disasters, it makes it special to see the community turn out to support them when needed.

“It’s nice especially for the younger soldiers that’s never experienced anything like this, to see a community come out and support people they don’t know,” he said.

While Stickler couldn’t say exactly where the group was being deployed to, he did say it was overseas, and it would be the first overseas deployment for some.

He admitted that it was unfortunate that this was taking place just as the holidays were getting started, “but that is not something in our control. We are given the mission, and we’re called to do the duty, and that is now. It’s a sacrifice that these guys make.”

He said the guardsmen have been training for several months for their mission at places like Fort Pickett in Virginia and the Harold L. Disney Training Center near Barbourville.

“We’re hoping that everything goes well and that they will be able to make it home in time for the holidays next year,” Stickler said.

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