HATTIESBURG, MS, UNITED STATES
CAMP SHELBY, Miss - Elements of the Mississippi National Guard’s 1-204th Air Defense Artillery Battalion, headquartered in Newton, Miss., were welcomed home, Nov. 23, at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center.
“We’re releasing approximately 70 soldiers today in coordination with the Camp Shelby Mobilization Operations Center, so that we can send them home with their families in time for Thanksgiving,” said Maj. Madison Kelly, chaplain. “Our guys have traveled a long way in the last 18 hours, and we really appreciate the support we received from the Camp Shelby MOC in making this happen.”
Battalion commander Lt. Col. Don Ashapanek said that the unit did a fantastic job in support of Operation New Dawn, providing force protection, counter-rocket, artillery and mortar missions and supporting the Iraq troop withdrawal.
“With pre-mobilization, our deployment lasted approximately seven months, and our guys not only provided C-RAM force protection, saving thousands of lives on more than 16 FOBs (forward operating bases), but they also supported the largest drawdown of forces in U.S. Forces-Iraq history,” said Ashapanek.
The returning soldiers were released after a short holiday safety briefing so that they could return home with their loved ones for the Thanksgiving holiday, and are scheduled to begin the demobilization process, Monday, Nov. 28, at Camp Shelby.
Story by Staff Sgt. Kenny Hatten, Camp Shelby Public Affairs
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