Sunday, March 20, 2005


Nearly 1,200 National Guard troops, including units of the Florida National Guard's 53rd Seperate Infantry Brigade based in Tampa, will be leaving in late April or early May for three months of training at Camp Shelby, Mississippi before being deployed to Afghanistan.

Shelby is one of two National Guard camps --- along with Camp Atterbury, Indiana --- which have been activated as deployment centres for overseas bound troops.

Camp Shelby, with 134,820 acres in Forrest and Perry counties, is the nation's largest state owned military training facilities. It was built in 1917 during World War I, and has been used by soldiers training for every war since then. It is located near Hattiesburg, Mississippi, about a 45 minute drive from Gulfport/Biloxi and a little over an hour from New Orleans.

Hattiesburg is a great place, although I am a bit biased having been born and raised there. It has an active cultrual scene as well as many historic homes and buildings, and it is home to the University of Southern Mississippi (Go Golden Eagles!!!), as well as the Baptist-supported William Carey College. There are also some great restaurants and watering holes around the city where you can enjoy some good food and drink. You'll find the people generally friendly and hospitable.

BTW: For those USF supporters: The Bulls play at Southern Miss' Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field May 13-15, and the Conference USA tournament will be played there May 26-30.

For those visiting this blog who are among those to be deployed, thank you for your service to our country, and Godspeed.


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