Thousands Support Troops During Sendoff Ceremony

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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment - To the cheers of more than 30,000 family members in the stands, soldiers run out on the field at Floyd Casey Stadium.
    Photo By: Jason Raddin / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment - Three soldiers lined up in the south endzone prepare for the start of the deployment ceremony.
    Photo By: Jason Raddin / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment - More than 30,000 family members of deploying soldiers filled the stands at Floyd Casey Stadium for the emotional ceremony.
    Photo By: Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment - Soldiers assembled by unit as they prepared to march into Floyd Casey Stadium.
    Photo By: Jason Raddin / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment
    Photo By: Jason Raddin / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment- More than 30,000 family members of deploying soldiers filled the stands at Floyd Casey Stadium for the emotional ceremony.
    Photo By: Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment - Some soldiers participated in "The Wave" as they lined up for the march into Floyd Casey Stadium.
    Photo By: Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment
    Photo By: Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment - Family members and friends participated in "The Wave" while waiting for the deployment ceremony to begin. Some of the gathered crowds arrived more than four hours before the ceremony's start time of 2 p.m.
    Photo By: Jason Raddin / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment - After gathering in formation, soldiers run down the south endzone ramp leading into Floyd Casey Stadium.
    Photo By: Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment - After gathering in formation, soldiers prepare to run down the south endzone ramp leading into Floyd Casey Stadium.
    Photo By: Jason Raddin / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment - James Munos of El Paso waits for the ceremony to begin.
    Photo By: Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment
    Photo By: Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment
    Photo By: Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment
    Photo By: Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment
    Photo By: Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment
    Photo By: Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment
    Photo By: Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment
    Photo By: Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment
    Photo By: Jason Raddin / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment
    Photo By: Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment
    Photo By: Jason Raddin / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment
    Photo By: Jason Raddin / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment
    Photo By: Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment - "America, the Beautiful" was performed by the Waco Symphony Boys Choir and the Waco Symphony Girls Choir, under the direction of Julie Bolin.
    Photo By: Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment - The conclusion of "The Star Spangled Banner" featured a low flyover by three Apache helicopters.
    Photo By: Jason Raddin / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment - The conclusion of "The Star Spangled Banner" featured a low flyover by three Apache helicopters.
    Photo By: Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment - The west side stands of Floyd Casey Stadium were completely filled for the ceremony.
    Photo By: Jason Raddin / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment
    Photo By: Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment - Baylor President Robert B. Sloan Jr. led the invocation as the ceremony began.
    Photo By: Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment
    Photo By: Jason Raddin / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment - Lt. Gen. Wayne D. Marty, Adjuntant General of Texas, addressed the troops and their families.
    Photo By: Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment - Maj. Gen. Michael A. Taylor, 36th Infantry Division Commander, addressed the troops.
    Photo By: Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment - (L to R) Sen. John Cornyn, Cornyn's wife, Sandy, and Rep. Chet Edwards were among the dignitaries who attended the ceremony.
    Photo By: Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment - Sen. John Cornyn and his wife, Sandy, greet the crowd at the deployment ceremony.
    Photo By: Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment: Congressman Chet Edwards, who represented Fort Hood for 12 years in the 11th Congressional District, was among several guest speakers during the deployment ceremony.
    Photo By: Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment
    Photo By: Jason Raddin / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment: Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who recently returned from Iraq, addressed troops and their families.
    Photo By: Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment: Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
    Photo By: Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment: Texas Gov. Rick Perry and First Lady Anita Perry salute the gathering of soldiers and their family members.
    Photo By: Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment - Texas Gov. Rick Perry read a proclamation to the 56th Brigade that was accepted by the brigade's commander, Col. James K. "Red" Brown.
    Photo By: Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment - Col. James K. "Red" Brown, commander of the 56th Brigade, thanked the Waco and Baylor communities for their support of "Operation Phone Card," which provided a 140-minute pre-paid phone card for each deploying soldier.
    Photo By: Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment - Baylor President Robert B. Sloan Jr. presented deploying soldiers with the first two 140-minute phone cards from "Operation Phone Card."
    Photo By: Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment
    Photo By: Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment
    Photo By: Jason Raddin / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment: Closing prayer.
    Photo By: Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment: Some National Guard soldiers celebrate after the ceremony.
    Photo By: Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment - Col. James K. "Red" Brown, his wife, Jane, and their three daughters wave to the crowd following the ceremony.
    Photo By: Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment - Soldiers and their families reunited on the field at Floyd Casey Stadium before most of the troops boarded buses to Fort Hood for their deployment.
    Photo By: Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment
    Photo By: Jason Raddin / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment
    Photo By: Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Texas National Guard 56th Brigade Combat Team Deployment
    Photo By: Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
Jan. 1, 2005

by Lori Scott Fogleman

More than 31,000 family members and friends gathered on New Years Day at Baylor University's Floyd Casey Stadium for an emotional sendoff ceremony marking the largest deployment of Texas National Guard troops since World War II.

Approximately 3,000 members of the 56th Brigade Combat Team, 36th Infantry Division, ran onto the field to patriotic music played by a military band. They were officially mobilized in August for service in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The soldiers will serve in Iraq for about a year.

Gov. Rick Perry, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards and Baylor President Robert B. Sloan Jr. attended the ceremony, as well as several high-ranking Army National Guard officials.

At the end of the ceremony, Sloan presented two soldiers with 140-minute phone cards that were provided through "Operation Phone Card," a community-wide effort that raised more than $123,000 to purchase phone cards for each of the deploying soldiers.


Photos by Clifford S. Cheney IV and Jason Raddin, Baylor Photography.

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