|Mr. Paul W. Bucha,(USACAPOC)|
A farewell ceremony was held for the recently deployed Bravo Company soldiers at the Army Reserve Center in Warwick, R.I., on April 14. In attendance was Medal of Honor Recipient Mr. Paul W. Bucha, Governor of Rhode Island Lincoln D. Chafee, 304th Civil Affairs Brigade Commander Col. William P. Barriage, along with many family and friends.
The ceremony opened with remarks from Governor Chafee. On behalf of the people of Rhode Island, he wished the Soldiers great success on the mission on which they are about to embark. Following Chafee, was an honored guest speaker, former Army Cpt. and Medal of Honor recipient Bucha. Bucha earned the Medal of Honor while serving as the commanding officer of a reconnaissance-in-force mission in Vietnam.
During his speech, Bucha reminisces on his return home from the war in Vietnam. He remembers people asking him “What was the worth of what you did?” Bucha would reply, “I don’t know.” He said when he arrived in Vietnam there were no children in sight, not a single a person. They were hiding in their huts. At the end of his tour in Vietnam, he remembered kids playing in the streets and people waving to him. It was at that moment that he asked himself, “What would I give if during the entire life of my young children, not once had they smiled or been out in the street playing with a ball or other kids; what would I give for that?”
“If that was what we gave to those people, surely it was worth the price,” said Bucha.
“That is what you are about to do; you are about to go to reaches that no man has gone to,” Bucha said to Bravo Company. “You are not staying on the silk roads or staying in the major cities, you are going to the villages to talk to the people… and bring them hope. If nothing else comes from this war, then let it be the legacy of hope that you have given to those people; that is something that very few people in the world can work a lifetime to achieve,” said Bucha.
During the ceremony, a yellow ribbon was hung on the wall of the Army Reserve center symbolizing the deployed soldiers of Bravo Company – right next to the yellow ribbon for Charlie Company. The ribbons will hang next to each other on the wall of the Army Reserve Center until all soldiers come home. A yellow ribbon is used as a symbol of solidarity with someone who is far from home, and an expression of hope that they will return safely and soon.
Lastly, the ceremony concluded with the casing of the company guidion until it can be flown proudly outside the company headquarters in Afghanistan. While the shrilling notes of a bagpiper were played, soldiers had a brief opportunity to say goodbye to their family and friends before loading a bus to Fort Dix, N.J. where the unit will undergo deployment-specific training.
Photo credit: Mr. Paul W. Bucha, former Army Cpt. and Medal Of Honor recipient, was among the distinguished guests and speakers during the farewell ceremony for Bravo Company of the 443rd Civil Affairs Battalion in Warwick, R.I., April 14. Bravo Company will conduct pre-mobilization training at Fort Dix, N.J. prior to deploying to Afghanistan for a year-long mobilization. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Amanda Smolinski)