Operation Salute Our Heroes - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Operation Salute Our Heroes

163rd Buses arrive at fairgrounds before the ceremony 163rd Buses arrive at fairgrounds before the ceremony
Specialist Jamie Brown, wounded in Iraq, speaks to his comrades Specialist Jamie Brown, wounded in Iraq, speaks to his comrades
Crowd members celebrated when the troops were dismissed Crowd members celebrated when the troops were dismissed

Reporter: Rhanda Stewart

New Media Producer: Kerry Corum

Update, Sunday, 9:00 p.m: It was a service filled with smiles, hugs, tears of joy and a couple of surprises too.

"Operation Salute Our Heroes" honored members of Evansville's 163rd Field Artillery Unit as they were welcomed home after a year at war.

It's the moment military families and friends have been waiting for all year long.

One girlfriend remarked, "I'm glad he's home, I can sleep at night."

Hundreds show up for a hero's welcome for over 60 soldiers in the 163rd Field Artillery Unit.

Many of the soldiers were surprised at the outpouring of support. Staff Sergeant Ryan Ewalt says,"I knew we had a lot of support back here, but I never would have believed this. We were all really surprised."

The biggest surprise: Specialist Jamie Brown, who was supposed to be in Walter Reed Army Medical Center - attended the event with his wife Jennifer. It was an emotional moment when he was reunited with those who saved him. SPC Brown's first comment? "Hooo-ah" And he got the same in a resounding reply.

"Operation Salute Our Heroes" was broadcast live Sunday morning right here on 14 WFIE. We thank everyone who was involved with making it all come together.

Previously: Throughout Sunday morning at the Vanderburgh County fairgrounds, the message was the same. Mothers, fathers, wives, kids and other loved ones were happy to have their citizen-soldiers back home.

As the final event of their current activation, sixty plus members of the 1st Battalion of the 163rd Field Artillery of the Indiana National Guard were honored for their service in Iraq.

Talking with family members outside Building 1 at the 4-H Center, stories came out of a year spent trying to communicate with the troops, and doing little things here at home to show their support. Everything from collecting school supplies for Iraqi children to waiting by the computer or telephone for an e-mail or a phone call.

The 163rd members arrived on two buses from Camp Atterbury shortly before 10am CST to a cheering crowd of well wishers.

Inside, the reception included a standing ovation for the troops as their commanders and others spoke of their service in Iraq. Newsatch's Mike Blake was emcee of the program.

About halfway through the program, the troops got a surprise when Specialist Jaime Brown walked in with his wife Jennifer. Brown was wounded while in Iraq, and has been in treatment and rehabilitation since then. Brown received a four day pass to attend Sunday's ceremony. He told his comrades, "You guys don't know how good it feels to be here. I thought about you many times in the past weeks and I'm glad to see you here." The returning troops cheered his remarks.

Follwing a number of speakers, the Guardsmen were individually introduced and received congratulations from their commanders along with items from the unit's family support group.

Just before the troops were dismissed for the last time, 163rd commander Lt. Col. Danny R. Thomas told them, "Gentlemen, you performed valiantly. Today, the world is a better place for your service. Your sacrifice is over. I have prayed for your safe return, and many prayers have been answered."

Most of the 163rd members now have several months off from Guard duty. They will not have to report again until this summer.

  • LOCALMore>>

  • Questions rise as adult prom is canceled

    Questions rise as adult prom is canceled

    Sunday, June 17 2018 6:53 PM EDT2018-06-17 22:53:36 GMT
    (Source: The Adult Prom Evansville 2018 "Remember the Time" Facebook)(Source: The Adult Prom Evansville 2018 "Remember the Time" Facebook)
    (Source: The Adult Prom Evansville 2018 "Remember the Time" Facebook)(Source: The Adult Prom Evansville 2018 "Remember the Time" Facebook)
    We are looking into an event that was canceled last minute this weekend leaving many with unanswered questions.  According to the Facebook Page "Evansville Events" an event called "The Adult Prom Evansville 2018, Remember the Time," was canceled on the day of the event.  The prom was supposed to be held at the Ramada Inn in Henderson on Saturday at 8 p.m.  The events page says tickets were $75 per couple and proceeds were to benefit the Evansville...More >>
    We are looking into an event that was canceled last minute this weekend leaving many with unanswered questions.  According to the Facebook Page "Evansville Events" an event called "The Adult Prom Evansville 2018, Remember the Time," was canceled on the day of the event.  The prom was supposed to be held at the Ramada Inn in Henderson on Saturday at 8 p.m.  The events page says tickets were $75 per couple and proceeds were to benefit the Evansville...More >>
  • Neighbors near White Co. jail on the lookout for escaped inmates

    Neighbors near White Co. jail on the lookout for escaped inmates

    Sunday, June 17 2018 5:52 PM EDT2018-06-17 21:52:15 GMT
    (Source: City of Carmi Police Department)(Source: City of Carmi Police Department)

    Authorities are still looking for two escaped inmates after three broke out of the White County Jail. 

    More >>

    Authorities are still looking for two escaped inmates after three broke out of the White County Jail. 

    More >>
  • EPD starts fund raising efforts for Cops Connecting with Kids

    EPD starts fund raising efforts for Cops Connecting with Kids

    Sunday, June 17 2018 5:42 PM EDT2018-06-17 21:42:38 GMT
    Evansville officers gathered at the Dream Car Museum this weekend in hopes of raising $20,000 for the big trip to Orlando this year (WFIE)Evansville officers gathered at the Dream Car Museum this weekend in hopes of raising $20,000 for the big trip to Orlando this year (WFIE)
    Evansville officers gathered at the Dream Car Museum this weekend in hopes of raising $20,000 for the big trip to Orlando this year (WFIE)Evansville officers gathered at the Dream Car Museum this weekend in hopes of raising $20,000 for the big trip to Orlando this year (WFIE)

    The Evansville Police Department says for this year's trip, they plan to take 54 kids from four schools in the Evansville area to Disney World, but it's not cheap. 

    More >>

    The Evansville Police Department says for this year's trip, they plan to take 54 kids from four schools in the Evansville area to Disney World, but it's not cheap. 

    More >>
Powered by Frankly