The Triple Deuce Leaves Utah

 

Written by Spc. Kelly K. Collett

Published June 21, 2005

   

Lt. Col. Richard Miller holds a loved one close as he prepares to board the bus that will take him from his Utah home.

Photo by Spc. Kelly K. Collett

Lt. Col. Richard Miller holds a loved one close

as he prepares to board the bus for Los Vegas.

 

CEDAR CITY and ST. GEORGE, Utah Utah said goodbye June 16 to a very spectacular Army National Guard unit:  The 2-222nd Field Artillery. The Triple Deuce has departed for a year-long tour in Iraq.

 

The approximately 450 Soldiers have been training at Camp Shelby, Miss., and Fort Irwin, Calif., for nearly six months.  They will spend an additional year on the ground in Iraq. After all is said and done the Triple Deuce  will spend about a year and a half away from loved ones.

 

Family and friends gathered with their Soldiers in Cedar City and St. George to wish them well and send them off with a fitting tribute.

 

Leaving was not easy for the troops who had crying children clinging to them, not wanting to let their fathers go away.  Wives embraced their husbands as tears rolled down their cheeks.

 

In saying goodbye, those left behind had to let go a large part of their life and at the same time show their Soldiers that they support them. 

 

Family members’ tears did not stop once Soldiers were on the bus heading to the Las Vegas airport. In many cases those who had refrained from shedding tears for the sake of “being strong” now let them flow easily as they returned to their vehicles to follow the ensemble of flashing lights that led the convoy onto to the freeway.

 

A wife sheds tears as she holds her soldier close to her for the last time before he departs to the Middle-East.

Photo by Spc. Kelly K. Collett

A wife sheds tears as she holds her Soldier close to her

for the last time before he departs to the Middle East.

The Triple Deuce was honored in their departure by supporters who lined the streets waving flags and signs as Soldiers passed.

 

Dump-truck beds, front-end loader buckets and forklift tines were raised in salute to Soldiers passing by.

 

One proud Utahn stood on the cab of his dump truck with the bed raised as he stood tall with an American flag flying above his head.  Others used cranes to raise the American flag to new heights for all to see as the buses drove underneath. 

 

The Triple Deuce was indeed given a hero’s farewell and the families, loved ones, friends, supporters and communities will be there a year from now to give them a hero’s homecoming.

 

 

Front-end loaders and dump-trucks raise their buckets and beds to salute the 222nd FA as they pass by in a bus on their way to the Las Vegas airport.

Photo by Spc. Kelly K. Collett

Front-end loaders and dump-trucks raise their buckets and beds to salute the 222nd FA as they pass by in a bus on their way to the Las Vegas airport.

Photo by Spc. Kelly K. Collett

Front-end loaders and dump trucks raise their buckets and beds to salute the 222nd as they pass by in a bus on their way to the Las Vegas airport. 

 

 

Photo by Spc Kelly K. Collett

 

Supporters of the 222nd lined the street in St. George from the armory to the freeway to say "Thank you." and "Good Luck."

 

Photo by Spc. Kelly K. Collett

 

The 222nd  was escorted in St. George by the local fire and police departments as they headed out of town to catch their flight that would take them to Mississippi and then on to the Middle East.