News: Welcome home ceremony
ELKHORN, Neb. - Eighteen soldiers assigned to the 456th Movement Control Team were honored for their service to the country during a Welcome Home Warrior-Citizen ceremony conducted March 10 at the Army Reserve Center here, bringing to an end a 12-month deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
According to their command, the 456th MCT ran ground and air operations out of Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan. The unit also stood up three additional missions, in addition to the original three missions they were responsible for. They successfully ran their missions, pushing the surge of 30,000 soldiers, with all of their equipment, throughout Afghanistan. The 456th MCT also stood up and ran the first air retrograde operation in the history of OEF. Members of the unit continually broke the record for the number of 463L pallets of retrograde sent out of Afghanistan.
During the ceremony, a representative for Sen. Ben Nelson, Patrick Leahy, also a member of the Army Reserve, thanked the soldier’s of the 456th MCT for their selfless service and the manner in which they carried out their duty. Leahy also thanked the families of the soldiers for their support during the ceremony.
A representative from Sen. Mike Johanns’ office, Vicki Althage, read a letter from the senator, who could not be present.
“On behalf of a proud and grateful nation, we welcome you back home ... You all have our deepest respect,” read Althage. “Your sacrifices will ensure that future generations continue to enjoy the freedoms and security we have today.”
A letter from Rep. Lee Terry was also read.
“I hope your transition will be easy and enjoyable,” wrote Terry. “Please remember that we, your fellow citizens, are not only thankful for your service but, stand behind you, ready to help you, as you go from cammies to civvies.”
A letter from Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman was also read.
Representing the command team from the 103rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command was Col. Glenn Kolin, the rear detachment commander.
“Sitting before you are the next greatest generation,” said Kolin. “Most of these soldiers joined the Army Reserve after 9/11. Each joined for their own reason, but all joined an all-volunteer Army -- one that was at war -- and each knew that they would be called upon to deploy to a foreign land ... They are a band of brothers and sisters, who, like the greatest generation, have deployed and have served in a combat theater, trying to make the world a safer place for all to live. Defense of the nation is a great calling. It is necessary and inevitable. These soldiers have heard the call ... and answered the call to service to their country.”
Also participating in the ceremony were Col. Arlan Deblieck, commander of the 561st Regional Support Group; Lt. Col. James Freeman, commander of the 450th Transportation Battalion and Command Sgt. Maj. Curtis Weldon, the senior non-commissioned officer for the 450th Trans. Bn.
Capt. Gary Barnes, commander of the 456th MCT, expressed what many of his soldiers echoed. “It’s great to be back,” said Barnes with a smile. “We’ve had a lot of support, not only from our families, but from leadership. We left the mission in a better place than where it was when we got there. It’s just awesome to get back.”
Ten of the 18 soldiers were presented with Welcome Home Warrior-Citizen Awards, consisting of a personalized, encased American flag; a yellow Welcome Home Warrior-Citizen flag; an Army Reserve soldier lapel pin set and a specially-designed commemorative coin. The other eight soldiers had previously received the WHW-C award after returning from earlier deployments. Many of the soldiers have deployed multiple times and soldiers are only allowed one award. However, each soldier of the 456th MCT was greeted with a firm hand-shake and a welcoming smile by members from their higher headquarters.
The WHW-C program was developed in 2004 to acknowledge service abroad by soldiers in the Army Reserve.
Date Posted:03.16.2011 16:34
Location:ELKHORN, NE, US
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