The 877th was one of the largest National Guard units in Alabama to be deployed overseas during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and it has been 10 years since the troop was activated. Some of the soldiers served stateside at Ft. Benning, Ga., while others served overseas in Mosul in northern Iraq from May 2003 to April 2004.
A lot of the soldiers had served together more than 20 years at the Carbon Hill National Guard Armory before their deployment. After returning from Iraq in April 2004, the Alabama National Guard decided to close its Carbon Hill armory.
In 2005, a large portion of the soldiers serving with the 877th retired, while their fellow members who were serving at that time and are still serving today were attached to other National Guard units around the state.
“These soldiers were like family and we wanted to reunite them and celebrate that,” said Sherry Crawford, who organized the reunion and whose husband, Mike Crawford, served with the 877th for 27 1/2 years until his retirement in May of this year.
Crawford said she wanted to thank all the sponsors who helped make the reunion possible.
“We had a number of local businesses who helped us with donations of food or money and we want to thank all of them for their support,” Crawford said. “Not just with this reunion, but for their support throughout the years, especially during the time our loved ones were deployed in Operation Iraqi Freedom.”
Crawford said the following businesses and individuals provided food, monetary donations or volunteered their time or service to help with the reunion; Greentop, Jim N’ Nicks, Chick-Fil-A on Alabama 118 W, Chick-Fil-A in Jasper Mall, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken, Captain D’s, Pizza Bar in Carbon Hill, WalMart in Jasper, Carl Cannon, Gunters Body Shop, Joy K Clark Photography, Michelle’s Bakery & Cafe, the City of Jasper, the Jasper Natatorium, and the Jasper Police Department, as well as the following individuals, Sandy Short, Renee Clark, Deb McLemore, Ashley McLemore, John Pruitt, Terry Tucker, Billy Waid, and Sgt. Chris Pugh.