Department of Florida

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District 11 Commander

November 2020

Yellow Ribbon Support for Local Unit

During the Back to School Bash held in August at the Callaway National Guard Armory in West Palm Beach, I found out a local Army National Guard Unit, the 1218th Transportation Company was in the process of deploying with just 120 days to prepare. This was the same Unit tasked in overseeing the testing COVID sites from Palm Beach down to Miami-Dade County since April.

We’ve also learned that they didn’t have a location that would accommodate both the Soldiers and their families for their Yellow Ribbon event and adhering to the social distancing guidelines and to top it off, the State didn’t have the funding to support the Yellow Ribbon to include the cost of the luncheon.

Long story short, the 11th District Judge Advocate Bob Jaegers was able to reach out to the National Croquet Center in West Palm Beach in which they offered their venue for the event along with assisting with preparing the luncheon. Our incredible District came together to pay for the Yellow Ribbon event which included the cost of the food which was provided by Cheney Brothers at cost. The Palm Beach Zoo provided entry for free for the soldiers and their families.

The Unit buses were escorted the following day by the Patriot Guard, Nam Knights and Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office (PBSO) to Palm Beach International airport. It does not end for the 11th District family, as we were appointed the Soldier and Family Readiness Group (SFRG) coordinator for the deployed unit, their families, and the rear detachment during their yearlong deployment.

Below is an observation from our newest Officer, Post 367 2nd Vice-Commander Seth Konigsberg:

As a longtime member of the American Legion as well as a newly elected 2nd Vice-Commander, I would like to share my observations of the recent Yellow Ribbon event honoring the 1218th Transportation Company and how it impacted those involved. Amongst the more than 200 soldiers and their families in attendance, there was representation from several Posts within the 11th District. In addition, we heard from the unit’s Commanding General who also spoke.

I think that the soldiers and their families felt at ease seeing all that was down for them on that day at the National Croquet Center. They all came together in honor of the soldiers who were about to be deployed and to be acknowledged, honored, and fed. I saw a few tears but for the most part, there was a lot of laughter, camaraderie, and even some friendly banter. Friends and families came together and while listening to the presentations and the speeches given, I was able to tell that all involved seemed to have a feeling of relief knowing that the entire day was all about them and to support them.

I believe the American Legion, led by our 11th District Commander, Johnny Castro, did an amazing job to help these soldiers and families know that we are there for them, not just for the duration of their deployment, but always. The takeaway from these soldiers and families was that the American Legion is here to stay and will always support them and, in my opinion, that is quite an impact.
Seth D. Konigsberg

Johnny Castro
District 11 Commander