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Columbia Missourian

FROM READERS: Line the streets of Columbia and welcome our troops home

By Susan C. Haines/Missourian Reader
April 17, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

Susan C. Haines is the National Director for the National Exercise Tiger Commemorative Foundation. To find out more about the organization and the event, visit the group's website.

On April 28 the Exercise Tiger Commemorative Foundation will be celebrating the WWII 68th anniversary of Exercise Tiger, and we'll be complementing the historic event with a Welcome Home Troops theme. We're planning a 1 p.m. ceremony at the Exercise Tiger Army and Navy Anchor Memorial in Mexico and a 6 p.m. ceremony at the VFW Post 280 in Columbia.

BG Mark Corson, USAR 103D ESC (Commander) will head up a convoy from Jefferson City to Mexico via the WWII Exercise Tiger Expressway, with Patriot Guard Riders, Army Reserve Soldiers from the 428th Transportation Company  of Jefferson City, the 484th Transportation Battalion of Springfield and the 620th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion of St. Louis. All three units currently fall under the 103rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), which is commanded by BG Mark Corson. The April 28, 1944, exercise convoy was also comprised of transportation units, medical support and engineers from Missouri.

We'll rally around the memorial at the Audrain County Courthouse, and we invite all the Exercise Tiger families and the families from those troops who've just recently returned to join us. While we're celebrating the ceremony in Mexico and laying a wreath in honor and memory of all who've donned the U.S. military uniforms, simultaneously the Homeland Security Division, U.S. Coast Guard Station Barnegat Light, N.J., and the U.S. Coast Guard Station at Miami will be laying a wreath at sea, as well as our sister chapter in Devon, England. The WWII Exercise Tiger families who join us will also have the opportunity to lay roses at the memorial during the ceremony in memory and honor of their WWII Exercise Tiger Troops.

Then in Columbia at 5:30 p.m. a convoy led by a riderless horse (depicting the soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice) led by one of our soldiers who recently returned from Iraq will be flanked by Columbia's Mounted Police and will parade downtown on Broadway, then on to stop in front of the Boone County Courthouse, where a wreath will be laid by WWII Exercise Tiger Survivor, David Troyer, accompanied by his sons, at the war memorial, then proceed to the VFW Post 280 for a formal ceremony where our Mayor McDavid will formally welcome our troops home.

Afterwards, the 312th U.S. Army Band ensemble, Super Hipnotic will provide a free concert to all in attendance. The VFW and Country Kitchen will provide free country fried chicken dinners to all who attend in uniform and the Exercise Tiger families.

The formal ceremony will include remarks from the Secretary of the Navy and Secretary of Army, Governor's Proclamation proclaiming April 28th as Exercise Tiger Day for the state of Missouri, and a few guest speakers.

The essence of our April ceremony is to Welcome our Troops Home!!! A few weeks ago, St. Louis swept their streets, and welcomed troops home, and we feel that mid-Missouri should as well, and couple that with an already historic date.

We look forward to celebrating this event with you and hope you'll line the streets of Columbia and welcome our troops home!!!

This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how.