Camp Minden joins Purple Heart Trail in special ceremony

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Louisiana National Guard at Camp Minden has joined Purple Heart entities within the state by becoming a part of the Purple Heart Trail.

Wednesday morning, a special ceremony unveiled the sign that will designate Camp Minden as one of those spots along the route. Receiving Purple Hearts were Sgt. Richard Mitchell and Lt. Derrick Smith.

Youth Challenge Program cadets Talyn Hillsher and Jayda Landry opened the ceremony with Hillsher providing a prayer and Pledge of Allegiance, while Landry sang the National Anthem.

CPT Quatiara Brewer, Deputy Post Commander at Camp Minden, served as mistress of ceremonies, introducing speakers and guests to a group of around 50 attendees.

LTC. Harry Wilson presented Hillsher and Landry with special commendations for their parts in the ceremony.

“What you two did just now was amazing,” Wilson told the two cadets, showing pride in the cadets.

Wilson then read a proclamation by Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Keith Waddell that covered all Purple Heart installations.

Waddell’s statement read in part: “…  the Purple Heart is the oldest military decoration in present use and was initially created as a badge of military merit and was created by Gen. George Washington in 1782.”

Along with Camp Minden, other LANG locations joining the trail include Jackson Barracks, Camp Villere, Gillis W. Long Center, Camp Cook, Armed Forces Readiness Center and Louisiana National Guard Training Center in Pineville.

Purple Heart Trail routes, created by the Military Order of the Purple Heart in 1992, are Hwy. 171 from Lake Charles to Shreveport, Interstate 20 from I—49 to I-220, Jones Creek Road in East Baton Rouge, Purple Heart Bridge over the Red River in Alexandria and USS Kidd DD661 Purple Heart Ship.