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NEWS | Jan. 13, 2024

Kentucky Soldiers set to deploy for Spartan Shield

By Sgt. 1st. Class Benjamin Crane, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office

Soldiers with the 1st Platoon, 299th Chemical Company, 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade were celebrated at a ceremony prior to their deployment to southwest Asia to Support ‘Spartan Shield’ at Ryle High School Jan 13.

The families of the nearly 20 Soldiers filled the high school auditorium as they prepared to say goodbye to their loved one for the next 365 days. 

Sgt. Philip Gallardo, 22, is a chemical specialist (74D) for the 299th and will be leaving his new wife and parents for the first time for an extended period of time and says he is going to miss them all but is “looking forward to the experience” and getting to do his job that he’s been training to do. 

As for his mother, she knows what it’s like since she too was in the service. 

“He is a fourth-generation service member, his dad and I were in the Army”, said Fawn Gallardo. “His dad and I both are super proud of him, but we still cried every day because he is the baby of the family. But we're excited for him. We know he's going to do big things.”

His wife, Ariel didn’t have to think about it long when asked how she felt about her husband being deployed.

“It sucks but I knew it when I married him” she said. “But I have my family and his family to fall back and I’ll video chat with him as much as I can.” 

During the ceremony, Army Lt. Col. Noy Boriboune-Holbrook, commander of the 103rd Chemical Battalion, encouraged the Soldiers with a Bible verse that she held dear to her. 

“As the team embarks on their journey, let's go ahead and draw some inspiration from the Bible; Philippians 4:13 says, ‘I can all I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me”, said Boriboune-Holbrook. “May the scripture guide us and uplift Soldiers reminding them of their cohesiveness and their shared strength.”

The platoon commander also shared some words of encouragement in her brief message to her team. 

“Thank you all for your hard work so far, said 1st Lt. Lindsey Matthew.  “We’ve had some great training and we're going to have more. This is going to be opportunity for us to grow and as leaders and as Soldiers.”

Also, during the ceremony Soldiers received several awards and commendations for their previous work during COVID and the winter storm in December of 2022. 

Gallardo was among the two specialists and one sergeant who were promoted during the ceremony as well. 

Before they parted ways, Gallardo’s mom left him with some advice that would do the rest of his team some good as well.

“Keep the open communication (wife, parents) as much as you can”, said Fawn. “If he gets a chance to, he can journal to write down whatever he's feeling or things that he sees so that way down the road so he can reflect back on it, also keeping his faith close to him will bring him peace as well.” 

After the ceremony, the Soldiers got to spend some time together with their families before leaving for Texas for their pre-deployment training prior to leaving for the Central Command theatre of operations.

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