11 Jun 2007

More than 200 attend farewell ceremony for American Samoan troops heading for Iraq

10:44 am on 11 June 2007

More than 200 people attended yesterday's ceremony to bid farewell to 31 members of the local U.S. Army Reserve's 400th Combat Platoon who have been mobilized for one-year tour of duty in Iraq.

The troops leave tonight transiting through Honolulu for Fort Hood, in Texas, where they will undergo additional training and preparation for the war zone.

The actual date of Iraq deployment is not confirmed yet.

Lieutenant Colonel Linda Aga of the Honolulu-based 9th Regional Readiness Command said during the ceremony that the 400th Platoon would be going to Iraq for the first time.

But she said 8 of its members have been there before and asked the veterans to coach and mentor the others.

Governor Togiola Tulafono presented the platoon leader, First Lieutenant Puletasi Mageo-Wong with the American Samoa flag.

He asked him to fly the flag of American Samoa and remember his home while he served his nation.