Some vehicles from the 1457th Engineering Battalion idling and parked near the Armory in Price on Memorial Day weekend were there just for weekend exercises. However, next month many members of the unit will be deploying first for training and then for a stint at an undetermined location. The unit was activated during the Iraq War and this will be their first time out on full activation since that time in 2003.
More than nine years ago, after coalition forces invaded Iraq and the Afghanistan war was just a year old, local National Guard troops from the 1457th Engineering Battalion were activated and were gone from home for almost a year. Now, almost a decade later, some of those same people, and new ones to boot, will be leaving the community on June 12 for another deployment. Where they will ultimately end up is not general knowledge and for how long they will be gone is uncertain. But they will be leaving. That means around 60 members of the local workforce, social network and citizens of the Carbon/Emery county area will be gone. That means breadwinners will not be holding down their regular jobs, but instead will be defending the United States. It means that the local families, who will be missing a loved one for some time, will need the communities support. A committee of local business and government leaders was quickly formed a couple of weeks ago to put together not only a parade for the guardsmen as they depart, but also a support project to help the families. On Friday that committee made plans for the next week so that the troops can have a strong send-off.
The first event will take place Saturday at Price's Pioneer Park where from 9-11:30 a.m. a benefit breakfast will be held to raise funds to help families of the guardsmen should they need it. The breakfast is open to the public and they are encouraged to come and support the troops. The cost for the meal will be $5 per person or $20 per family. Advance tickets for the breakfast can be purchased at a number of places throughout town including at the Sun Advocate office, Price City Hall, Supreme Muffler, KUSA, KOAL, the Carbon County Chamber of Commerce, Eastern Utah Community Credit Union and Sutherlands.
"We hope to raise about $10,000 for the fund to support the families," said Price Mayor Joe Piccolo on Friday.
The other event scheduled for next week is a parade for the troops as they leave Price on Tuesday morning, June 12. The parade will take place west on 100 North from 300 East to 300 West at 1 p.m. The troops will be in their vehicles as they pass by and citizens are asked to line the road in support. They are also asked to bring flags to wave as the troops pass by. The city and the boy scouts are attempting to line the street with 300 large flags during the parade.
The parade out of town would be reminiscent of the departure of the troops on Feb. 13, 2003 when they were bid adieu not only in Price but along the entire route out of the central part of the Carbon County.