Senior Report: Welcoming 3rd Battalion home from Iraq

By Theresa Schmidt - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA. (KPLC) -It's hard to imagine what they've been through, what they've seen as they wrap up their second tour of duty in Iraq. But soon, sometime around the end of the year the men and women of the 3rd Battalion 156th Infantry of the Louisiana National Guard are coming home.

Colonel Pete Pauley and his family have a lot of history with the 3rd Battalion. And the retired colonel is spearheading efforts to present each solider with a homecoming coin to show appreciation. "You can imagine having to be away from your family, in a combat situation in 120 degrees of heat, in full combat garb. They have really had a handful. And this is their second tour. Third Battalion went in the initial Iraqi Freedom. They're coming back now thank God."

The one of a kind coin will be specially minted for the battalion which is nicknamed the Bandits. "Not that it's going to be a gigantic thing but they will treasure it as something that they did and only they did. It acknowledges what this community is coming together for to say something that is tangible that we appreciate what you've done."

To raise money for the coins Nic Hunter of Harlequin Steaks and Seafood is hosting a dinner Sunday evening when the restaurant is normally closed. The servers for the evening will be army soldiers in uniform. "We're trying to earn enough money to pay for deployment coins to give to each one of the 3rd Battalion members when they return home from war."

Any money raised above the cost of the coins will be used to provide something else for the National Guard Armory deemed appropriate by the 3rd Battalion.

At last count there were only about sixty seats still available for the Sunday fund raising dinner. Tickets are $50 each.  To make a reservation or donation call Harlequin Steaks and Seafood at 337-310-0077. Checks should be made to the Mayors Armed Forces Commission with memo note for 3rd Btn. donation.

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