|700 of Oregon's Citizen-Soldiers Coming Home
Nearly 700 soldiers of the Oregon National Guard will return to the Pacific Northwest this week after completing a year-long tour of duty in Iraq.
The 2nd Battalion, 162nd Infantry mobilized in October 2003 then deployed to Iraq in April 2004. After their arrival, they will begin their stateside demobilization process at Fort Lewis, Wash.
The planes carrying Oregon's citizen soldiers will arrive Wednesday and Thursday nights as well as Friday morning at McChord Air Force Base. Although the soldiers arrive at McChord, AFB they will meet their families at Fort Lewis, an Army post adjacent to the air base.
The 2nd Bn., 162nd Inf., served with distinction while based in the Baghdad area, including duties in Sadr City where Muqtada al Sadr initially put up fierce resistance. Soldiers from the battalion also fought in the pivotal battles of Fallujah and Najaf. Among their last duties, the soldiers worked south of Baghdad in Babil finding weapons caches and detaining terrorist insurgents.
Their mission while deployed was to conduct stability and support operations. Though they engaged enemy combatants, they also helped the people of Iraq re-establish neighborhoods after decades of neglect. They were also on hand for the historic elections that brought eight million Iraqis to the polls.
Several soldiers were singled out for distinctive accomplishments that resulted in the award of Silver and Bronze Star medals. Dozens of soldiers received the Purple Heart award, and the unit received the Combat Infantry Badge for coming into direct contact with the enemy.
Although the units are from Cottage Grove, Coos Bay, Corvallis, and Eugene the soldiers come from across the state.
Media interested in attending the arrival and first family reunions of the soldiers must contact the Oregon National Guard Public Affairs staff to coordinate access to military facilites.
Capt Mike Braibish
503-584-3886, cell 503-932-5805
503-584-3917, cell 503-931-5179
It is imperative that media call the ORNG Public Affairs staff members listed above so they may coordinate media entry to McChord AFB and Ft. Lewis.