Photo 1/3
  • Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Sgt. Jason Lee of Gonzales puts his arm around his stepson Raymond Street, 12, right, as they share a quiet, emotional moment outside the Southeastern Louisiana University Center, after soldiers in Louisiana National Guard's 1021st Vertical Engineer Company, 205th Engineer Battalion said goodbye to family and friends Friday during a deployment ceremony in Hammond. Angela Lee, Sgt. Lee's wife and Street's mother, is at left. The 1021st, based in Covington, will send more than 160 soldiers to Kuwait for a one-year deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, after first conducting mobilization training at Fort Bliss, Texas.

  • Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Sgt. Keith Varnado of Amite takes time to hold his daughter Paris Varnado, 2, for as long as he can, at a deployment ceremony for the Louisiana National Guards 1021st Vertical Engineer Company, 205th Engineer Battalion Friday at the Southeastern Louisiana University Center in Hammond. Another daughter, Keijhariah Varnado, 6, and his wife Natasha Varnado are at right. The 1021st, based in Covington, will send more than 160 soldiers to Kuwait for a one-year deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, after first conducting mobilization training at Fort Bliss, Texas.

  • Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Gov. Bobby Jindal, right, and next to him, Sgt. Alex Anderson of Independence, listen as the governor talks about the value of the soldiers' service to three of Anderson's gym class students at Mater Dolorosa Catholic School after a deployment ceremony Friday in Hammond for soldiers of the Louisiana National Guard's 1021st Vertical Engineer Company, 205th Engineer Battalion. The students, left to right, Cassie Musso, 9, his niece Allie Landry, 8, and nephew Beau Landry, 10, were part of a group from the school taking a history field trip to the ceremony. In background are his sister, Stephanie Anderson, left, and his mother, Barbara Restivo, right.