Tradition rooted in history: Nebraska National Guard sends 99 troops overseas
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — Ninety-nine Nebraska Army National Guard soldiers were honored Sunday morning at a send-off gathering.
The C Troop of the 134th Cavalry Regiment will be deployed along the Arabian Peninsula as part of Operation Spartan Shield. Soldiers will be participating in security details until late December.
It was clear who the stars of the ceremony were.
Wearing matching black cowboy hats, the 99 soldiers could be spotted around the Lincoln Room at the Lancaster Event Center.
One of those servicemen was Spc. Andrew Smith of Lincoln, who will be deployed for the first time.
For Smith, wearing the hat was a means of upholding tradition.
“It’s Cavalry tradition dating back to the 1800s,” he said. “A lot of Army traditions are rooted in it.”
The Cavalry has progressed beyond horse-mounted troops, but many of its core values have translated into today’s traditions.
“We even have spurs,” Smith said “I have my silver spurs now, but when you deploy, you get golden spurs.”
He said it’s going to be his first time out of the country, and he looks forward to exploring the cultures of the Middle East.
The send-off brought a lot of emotions for families and friends, many of whom will be celebrating major holidays apart from their loved ones.
To comfort the families, members of the guard, Gov. Jim Pillen and Sen. Pete Ricketts spoke on ideals of traditional American efforts.
After the formalities, guests lingered to have a final moment together to celebrate those going overseas.
The troop is expected to return by the holidays at the end of 2023.