VP Rotary welcomes Soileau

Rotarian Greg Manuel invited Staff Sergeant Jacques Soileau to speak at the March 3, meeting of the Ville Platte Rotary Club.

He has been with the National Guard for eight years as a member of the 82nd Airborne. He was deployed to Aghanistan in 2002 and is now a recruiter for Evangeline and St. Landry parishes. He said the National Guard promotes democracy and protects the country, states and local communities. A native of Mamou and graduate of Mamou High School, Soileau joined the National Guard to help with college expenses. As a member of the guard, one receives free college tuition to any Louisiana university for up to 15 semesters or when a bachelor’s degree is earned, whichever comes first. He added guard members also receive help through the GI Bill, as well as getting paid for their service while on active duty.

Soileau then gave a brief history of the National Guard in Ville Platte, noting it first came to Ville Platte in February 1942, as a COC 773rd Battalion unit. In 1963, the unit converted to the 1090 transportation unit. In 1997, the unit became the 1086th transportation unit, which it remains today.

He closed by saying since 2001, more than 270,000 National Guardsmen have been deployed to either Iraq or Afghanistan and added the 256th Infantry Brigade will be sent back to Iraq in 2010.

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