Lake Area Honors Fort Polk Soldiers & Their Families

April 21, 2007
Reported By: Lee Peck

Lake Charles played host Saturday to more than 1,300 members of Fort Polk's 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment and their families.

Returning from Afghanistan last November, the battalion is already set to deploy to Iraq this November. Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach says it's important to continue to support their mission.

"They've been on the front line, literally, on the war on terror and they go through a lot. Their families go through a lot. And the main thing that they need to know is that the American people support them. That's what this is all about -- supporting them," said Mayor Roach.

"Knowing that people actually come out and support us like this -- throwing events for us like this make us feel like we have something to fight for," says Sgt. Jeffrey Alan Breen.

While fellow soldiers continue to fight the fight, these troops are reminded of why they signed up. "It's a sense of pride and ownership, when a community can give back. It's pretty awesome... That's what it's all about," said Captain Marcus Hathorn.

From barbequed burgers to hot dogs, the food here is something these soldiers say they can appreciate, especially after serving a stint overseas.

"They don't have any of the luxuries that we have, just common day luxuries. By the time you hit nine months out, you really begin to miss the little things," said First Sergeant Chip Mezzaline.

"You miss the Big Mac pretty quick," said Breen.

But of all the sacrifices, it is days like these they cherish. Time with their families. Time that's lost while defending freedom. "You try and spend as much time together as you can and do as much together as you can because they're gone a lot," said Chip's wife Angie Mezzaline.

"It's tough, but you got to stay focused on the mission and the time really goes by relatively quick in some cases sometimes, months go by pretty fast, but it's pretty tough over there," said 1st Sgt. Mezzaline.

As they prepare to head back overseas, they are followed by the prayers of a community who support them in their fight for freedom's future.

Fort Polk's 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry is set to deploy to Iraq in November. 7 news is told they could be there for up to 15 months.