Farewell Ceremony Becomes Thank You Celebration

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MARIANNA-- More than 100 local Florida National Guard Service Members celebrate not being deployed overseas in Marianna Sunday afternoon.

Several months ago, a picnic was planned when the 144th Transportation Company got word they were going to be deployed to Afghanistan. However, a few weeks ago, the unit was notified that the mission was cancelled.

Instead of cancelling the picnic, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) decided to celebrate the fact the soldiers get to stay in Marianna.

"There's mixed emotions. Some soldiers were really looking forward to opportunity to be able to deploy and to serve at that capacity. Others are really celebrating because they are not deploying," Capt. Robert Davis, the 144th Transportation Company Commander, said.

If the soldiers had been deployed, it would have been their fourth time in out-of-the-country service since the early 90s.