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Post bids adieu to 76th
Indiana Guard deploying to Iraq
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels accompanies the Pass and Review team, and helps troops the line for the 76th Infantry Brigade Combat Team at Cottrell Field at Stewart Saturday. - photo by Photo by Patrick Young/US Army
A constellation of generals' stars shone at the Saturday farewell ceremony for the 76th Brigade, Indiana National Guard, along with other dignitaries, a huge crowd of spectators and a large contingent of the Indiana press.
A crowd said to include almost 5,000 family members and others from Indiana lined three sides of Fort Stewart's Cottrell Field for the speeches, military ceremony and music.
Maj. Gen. Jay Hood, commanding general of the First Army Division East, got a strong reaction from soldiers and spectators alike when he reported the results of questioning three soldiers on what he should talk about.
The general said he received suggestions from two high-ranking officers that he should talk about the sacrifice and dedication of the troops, and the fine training the soldiers have received.
The punch line came when Hood related the advice he had received from First Serg. Scott Pepper: "Sir, you should talk about 30 seconds."
Hood told the 3,400 soldiers that they represented "all that is good in our country," and said he was "confident you are equal to every challenge."
Hood also reported some statistics from the brigade's two-month Mission Rehearsal Exercise at Fort Stewart:
3.5 million rounds of ammunition
1,500 soldiers certified as combat life savers
72,000 hours of Arab language instruction delivered.
Top-ranking speaker was Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen Richard Cody who was on a two-day visit to Fort Stewart. He said the brigade was part of "the strongest generation the Army has ever produced."
Other speakers included Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, Maj. Gen. Martin Umbarger who is adjutant general of Indiana, and Col. Courtney Carr, commander of the 76th "Nighthawk" Brigade Combat Team.
Others attending included Georgia Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Terry Nesbitt, Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas and Fort Stewart Garrison Commander Col. Todd Buchs.
The 76th's Public Affairs Officer, Capt. Lisa Kopczynski, sang the National Anthem and music was provided by the Indiana National Guard Band, "the pride of the 38th Division," brought down for the occasion.
The 76th BCT  will begin moving to Kuwait this week, there they will complete final training and move to Iraq to perform security missions such as guarding convoys
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