Farewell to the 106th, with love from Magee

  The Magee Chamber of Commerce and a large crowd of family members and friends honored Company A, 106th Support Battalion, 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team, Mississippi National Guard with a parade and sendoff luncheon last Thursday. 

The Magee unit will leave next Tuesday for a year long deployment.  The unit location is the National Guard Readiness Center in Magee.  The 155 ABCT is comprised of approximately 4200 soldiers who will be leaving for Fort Bliss, Texas, for training.  A nine month deployment to Kuwait in support of Operation Spartan Shield will follow the training.

After a parade down Main Street and on to the Family Life Center of First Baptist Church of Magee, the troops gathered on the front steps for a photo, including one with Phil Bryant, the Governor of Mississippi.

Magee Chamber of Commerce President LauraLyn Barr welcomed the soldiers and their families to the event.  She introduced Jamie May, who sang the National Anthem.  Barr then introduced Governor Bryant, who spoke words of thanks and encouragement and offered prayers for safety for the troops and their families.

Alpha Company Commander 1st Lt. Feazell asked the troops to rise as the Governor left the room.

Magee Alderwoman Whitney Baker introduced the key-note speaker for the event, C.J. Stewart, who was wounded in battle. 

On June 15, 2010, his outpost was attacked by rocket propelled grenades and machine gun fire.  Stewart said he grabbed his bag to help a fellow soldier when he heard a deafening explosion.  Shrapnel from the blast was sent through Stewart’s right arm and leg, causing immediate life-threatening and extensive injury.  After 40 surgeries, Stewart was sent to Walter Reed Army Medical Center to recover. 

While recuperating there, he shared his idea of developing an outdoor military camp to help others recover. 

He is  the founder and executive director of the CJ Stewart Foundation. Stewart now  Camp Down Range that challenges participants to overcome adversity through physical obstacles, outdoor leadership and team building activities.

 CJ has received certification in High Challenge Course Practitioner Training approved by Signature Research Inc. He is currently pursuing a master's degree in marriage and family counseling.   

Reverend Jim Taylor, pastor of First Baptist Church of Magee, blessed the meal provided by the Magee Chamber of Commerce and cooked by Chris Williams of Farm Bureau.