Lieutenant Government Elizabeth Roberts is hosting a care package drive this weekend to support Rhode Island soldiers. The initiative “Operation Holiday Cheer” is sending 350 care packages to soldiers serving overseas this holiday season. Anyone can bring donations to the Rhode Island National Guard Armory this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Spokesperson Maria Tocco said donations of simple things like powdered drink mix, coffee syrup, beef jerky, and batteries are received with gratitude by the troops.
A large group of Rhode Island National guardsmen is set to return from deployment Thursday and Friday.
About 120 members of the Air National Guard will return home; arriving at Quonset Point over the next two days. They’re members of the 143rd Airlift Wing unit, who’ve been stationed in South West Asia. They’ve been deployed for as many as six months, working as pilots, aircraft maintenance crews and support staff.
A popular Rhode Island air show will be back next spring after a one-year hiatus prompted by federal sequestration cuts.
The Rhode Island National Guard says its popular air show will be held May 17th and 18th. The Navy’s Blue Angels will be the headline act. It was cancelled at the last minute last year, disappointing many fans.
The show has been held annually since 1991 and draws thousands of spectators to the Quonset Air National Guard base. Last year was the only time since its founding it was not held.
The last Rhode Island National Guardsman who first served in Vietnam has retired. Cpt. Richard Gaudet has been serving his country on and off for more than 40 years.
Now retired, U.S. Army Captain Richard Gaudet first joined the Army as a 17-year-old, that was in 1971. He was part of an aviation support unit in Vietnam. He then joined the Army Reserves, then after 9-11 he re-enlisted working as a training instructor with two deployments to Afghanistan. Gaudet turns 60 soon, the age mandatory retirement kicks in.
“Operation Holiday Cheer” was officially launched Wednesday. The Lt. Governor’s Office, Rhode Island National Guard and several organizations and businesses are teaming up to send care packages to Rhode Island guardsmen overseas during the holidays.
Capt. Michael Calcagni got a care package last year. He said it makes difference when you’re away from family during the holidays. “However when you’re away one thing that is always uplifting, no matter what time of year, is mail call,” said Calcagni. “And when you can’t be home and mail brings home to you, it’s even better.”