CAMP SHELBY, MS (WDAM) - Dozens of former members of the Mississippi Army and Air National Guard gathered at Camp Shelby Thursday for an annual celebration of their service.
Retiree Day was held at the newly-renovated Mississippi Armed Forces Museum.
"I just wanted to come out and see some people I hadn't seen in a long time," said Gary Fowler, a 33-year veteran of the Army National Guard from Purvis.
"The camaraderie is great and it's just a wonderful atmosphere."
"You just get to meet people, people you haven't seen in years, it's kind of like a family reunion, it sure is," said Jackie O'Bannon of Grenada, who served in the Army and the Army National Guard.
Retirees were thanked for their service and contributions to the National Guard by Camp Shelby commander Col. Greg Michel.
"This is one of the biggest events we host every year and it's just an opportunity for us to just thank these men and women who have served, not only the state, but for our nation," Michel said.
Mississippi adjutant general Maj. Gen. Janson D. Boyles also praised their service and gave retirees an update on current Mississippi National Guard deployments.
"With every face out here, I see a memory," said Boyles. "It means a lot to me personally, to have y'all here."
Boyles also spoke about the upcoming rotation at the National Training Center in California for Mississippi's 155th Armored Brigade.
That unit will undergo intensive training in June.
"We operate in four and five year cycles, so this is the fourth year of (the 155th's) cycle, so this is the year that they need to pass the test," said Boyles.
"We call it a test, it's a training opportunity, whenever we can get a high-tempo training opportunity, that's the best thing for the soldiers."
The training period, including moving equipment to and from California, will take about eight weeks.