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Chamber’s Military Recognition Breakfast celebrates local defenders

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Bossier Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Lisa Johnson speaks to media prior to the Military Recognition Breakfast Thursday at Margaritaville Resort Casino.
Jennyne Pinter, jpinter@bossierpress.com

In honor of Military Appreciation Month, members of the Military and the community recognized those defending the nation’s freedom at the Bossier Chamber of Commerce Military Recognition Breakfast at Margaritaville Resort Casino Thursday. 

Patrick Gullatt of Barksdale Federal Credit Union and Chair Elect of the Chamber of Commerce, took the podium next and offered gratitude to the soldiers and their families.

“I’d like to thank them and we’re honored to be a part of this event. We really appreciate the sacrifices that you make and your families make every day. We just want to let you know that we really appreciate that and we are proud to be a sponsor of this event.”

Kevin Walsh with Margaritaville quoted Ronald Reagan: “As long as we remember our first principles and believe in ourselves, the future will always be ours. And something else we learned: Once you begin a great movement, there’s no telling where it will end. We meant to change a nation, and instead, we changed a world.

Walsh added, “I like to believe that Margaritaville is a part of the movement here in Bossier City. We play a big part in the collaboration between the civilians and our military forces. Last year, Margaritaville hosted the American Veterans Traveling Tribute Wall…That wall was assembled by a team made up from the crew of Margaritaville and also the men and women at Barksdale.”

Emcee Marie Waxel recognized the services that play a part in the community. “Each branch of the United States Military are each a unique and integral part of our nation’s defense. As you may know, in the Bossier/Shreveport community we are fortunate to have representation of nearly all branches of service.  Serving in our own backyard, we have the Army National Guard, Army Reserve, Marine Corp Reserve, Navy Reserve, Active Duty Air Force and Air Force Reserve.”

Ten military units were recognized for their outstanding achievements.

US Air Force Global Strike Command, 8th Air Force, 307th Bomb Wing, and 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale Air Force Base were all recognized.

Waxel explains Global Strike’s mission as, “Providing strategic deterrents, global strike and combat support anytime, anywhere.”

The Mighty Eighth supported task force missions seizing over 16,000 kilograms of cocaine which is worth over $500 million dollars. The 307th BW is ramping up to become 100 percent fully mission capable by initiating a manning increase to 200-plus soldiers.

The 2nd Bomb Wing was honored with the Brigadier General Frederick W. Castle award in March 2018 the Fairchild Trophy as Air Force Global Strike Command Best Bomb Wing in November 2017.

As part of the Louisiana National Guard, the 165th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion was honored for their Raptor Task Force which competed against other battalions in a 10-part physical fitness challenge in full combat gear with realistic stress scenarios.  The Raptor Task Force placed first in the January 2018 competition. 

Another Louisiana National Guard unit receiving praise was the 2nd Squadron 108th Cavalry Regiment for having ranked in the top-3 of all recognizance squadrons in the National Guard for the last three years.

The 8th Battalion 95th Regiment Transportation Unit trains both incoming and active duty soldiers to become transportation soldiers in the Army. The Unit also participates in blood drives, 5K runs and food bank drives to support the community.

Bravo Company 1st Battalion, 23rd Marines, 4th Marine Division, also known as the “Lone Star Battalion,” was established in 1942. Bravo fully participates oversees and are prepared at all times to fight whenever needed. These marines dedicate time to the community through various programs such as Toys for Tots.

Also recognized was the Navy Reserve in Shreveport for Honor Guard services and blood donations, and the Military Entrance and Processing Station, or M.E.P.S., which focuses on identifying our future service leaders by evaluating applicants and determining an individual’s capability for military service.