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Press Release
January 10, 2006
Additional Photos: Oregon Army National Guard aviators return to Oregon
 
The official demobilization ceremony for the members of A Co., 249th Aviation, Oregon Army National Guard took place today at 2 p.m. at the Army Aviation Support Facility in Salem.
 
Brigadier General Ray Byrne, Jr., Assistant Adjutant General, Army officially welcomed them back to the state of Oregon and recognized their accomplishments in a hostile theater of operations.
 
These Soldiers returned to Oregon as recipients of a distinguished award for their efforts in theatre. A Company 249 Aviation has been selected as the Army Aviation Fixed Wing Unit of the Year.
 
A/249 Aviation Company is made up of four detachments from four states including Oregon. The unit mobilized in December 2004 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
 
A/249 soldiers flew more than 1000 missions in Iraq in C-23 Sherpas logging approximately 5207 flight hours and transporting more than 4 million pounds of cargo. A number of equipment modifications were identified to increase the survivability of the C-23 aircraft and enhance safety and situational awareness. Two of the key modifications included Ballistic Blankets which help protect the aircraft from small arms fire and aircraft survivability equipment.
 
This is the second Army Aviation Unit of the Year Award for the Oregon Army National Guard. The 1042nd Medical Company Air Ambulance received this award in 2002.
 
 
Photos:
 
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Maj. Devin Wickenhagen, from Portland, Ore., accepts the unit guidon from Brig. Gen. Raymond C. Byrne, Jr., Assistant Adjutant General, Oregon Army National Guard, at the unit's demobilization ceremony held at the Aviation Support Facility in Salem, Ore. on Jan. 10, 2005. Seven Soldiers from Alpha-Company, 249th Aviation, returned to Oregon after spending six months in Balad, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The unit operated C-23 "Sherpa" fixed wing aircraft while deployed in Iraq.
 
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Staff Sgt. John Mueller spends some quality time with his son following the demobilization ceremony for Alpha Company, 249th Aviation held in Salem, Ore. on Jan. 10, 2005. Mueller and six other Soldiers from the unit spent six months in Balad, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The unit operated C-23 "Sherpa" fixed wing aircraft while deployed in Iraq.
 
 
Contact:

Capt Mike Braibish
503-584-3886,
cell 503-932-5805

Kay Fristad
503-584-3917
cell 503-931-5179