Mississippi has served its country with its share of Seabees, airmen, Marines, Army reservists and Guardsmen sent to Iraq since the war began in 2003.
The Sun Herald has chronicled much of their military service -- including those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
All told, 26 Seabee units nationwide deployed to Kuwait and Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and 16 Seabees were killed.
During their deployments, the Seabees repaired various roads and constructed multiple 20-acre aircraft-parking aprons, munitions-storage areas, a 48,000-square-foot concrete pad, bridges, a 1,200-person camp.
Here is a time line of key events in South Mississippi's military contributions to the war in Iraq:
January 2003: Marine Reservists from the 3rd Platoon, Company A, 4th Assault Amphibian Battalion activated to join the 4th and deploy to Iraq.
February 2003: Seabees from NMCB 133 deployed to the Middle East, the first battalion from Gulfport to be sent to Iraq after Sept. 11.
February 2003: Sun Herald reporter Patrick Peterson is embedded with the Company A Marines from Gulfport as part of the 4th Assault Amphibian Battalion.
March 21, 2003: 2nd Lt. Therrel Shane Childers, 30, with 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, is the first American military member killed in Iraq. The son of a Navy Seabee, Childers was a Harrison Central graduate.
March 21, 2003: Marines of the 4th Assault Amphibian Battalion cross the border from Kuwait to Iraq as the battle begins.
April 10, 2003: Baghdad falls and Gulfport Marines are in the vanguard.
April 18, 2003: 890th Engineer Battalion mobilized for deployment to Iraq.
April 22, 2003: Marines leave Baghdad, move back to Kuwait.
May 20, 2003 : Seabees return home from deployment to Iraq.
June 20, 2003: Marines return home from deployment to Iraq.
February 2004: NMCB 74 deploys to Iraq to begin rebuilding phase.
March 18, 2004: 890th Engineer Battalion returns from deployment to Iraq.
March 28, 2004: Sun Herald reporter Patrick Peterson returns to Iraq, this time embedded with Seabees of NMCB 74.
April 2, 2004: NMCB 14 deploys to Iraq; is involved in a 5½-hour firefight in the battle of Fallujah.
April 20, 2004: NMCB 1 returns from Iraq after 50-day deployment.
July 28, 2004: C Company, 1st Battalion of the 155th Separate Armored Brigade deploys to Iraq.
Aug. 26, 2004: NMCB 74 returns from Iraq.
Oct. 12, 2004: NMCB 14 returns from Iraq deployment.
Nov. 10, 2005: 1108th AVCRAD deploys to Kuwait.
Aug. 8, 2007: 1108th AVCRAD deploys to Iraq.
Sept. 14, 2007: NMCB 11 is recommissioned and homeported at CBC Gulfport, in part to help ease the deployment schedule of the four active battalions at that base.
March 23, 2008: 890th Engineer Battalion deploys to Iraq.
April 7, 2008: NMCB 1 returns from deployment to Iraq.
July 13, 2008: 890th Engineer Battalion returns from deployment to Iraq.
July 14, 2008: 1108th AVCRAD returns from a 12-month deployment to Iraq.
Aug. 5, 2008: NMCB 74 returns from a seven-month deployment to, among other places, Iraq.
March 27, 2009: 890th Engineer Battalion returns from deployment to Iraq.
Aug. 8, 2009: 403rd Wing Security Force Reservists return from Iraq.
Oct. 2, 2011: CBC Gulfport learns that NMCB 7 will be decommissioned next year, bringing the active battalions back to four.