“Today, we send the 1086th Company off to Afghanistan,” Gov. Bobby Jindal said at the deployment ceremony. “We send you off because you make up the most formidable weapon on the face of the earth -- the will of a free people devoted to protecting and defending freedom at any cost.
“That is why we are here to honor and send off a willing and free group of people who have willingly become the frontline defenders of freedom.”
The unit, based in Bunkie with detachments in Vidalia and Ville Platte, will deploy to Afghanistan. Its mission is to provide transportation and combat support to units within its assigned area of operations.
“Since 9/11, the Louisiana National Guard has continuously had soldiers deployed around this state and across the globe,” said Maj. Gen. Bennett C. Landreneau, adjutant general of the Guard. “This deployment is an important reminder to us all of our nation’s fight against global terrorism on this 10 year anniversary of the attacks against our country.”
Capt. Michael Stevens is the commanding officer of the 1086th, which will train at Fort Hood, Texas, for approximately two months before being sent overseas.
“It is my honor to lead these soldiers on the mission and to represent the state of Louisiana,” Stevens said. “However, we could not do this without the unfailing love and support from the families and friends that remain here.”
Spc. Charles E. Fontenot and younger brother Pfc. Austin Fontenot, both from Port Barre, are two of the soldiers deploying with the unit.
“I promised Austin that if he ever enlisted and deployed, I would deploy with him and protect him,” said Charles, returning from a deployment with another unit last year.
“I can’t wait to get there and experience what this deployment has in store,” Austin said. “It will be nice to have him there with me.”