3-116 Cavalry Demobilization Ceremony in La Grande
October 8, 2011
Thank you, General Rees.
Soldiers of the 3-116 Cavalry, it is my privilege as your Commander in Chief, to welcome you home to Oregon!
It has been a long deployment since you left for Iraq last year – and I speak for all Oregonians when I say: we are so glad to have you home!
We have followed your tour from afar through embedded reporters’ stories, video conferences, and from your letters and calls – and anxiously awaited your safe return. There was no doubt that you would represent Oregon with the finest of skill and honor – and you did. You always brought pride and professionalism to your challenging mission.
During your tour, the U.S. scaled back its forces in Iraq and increased them in Afghanistan. Your efforts to secure bases and convoys facilitated this incredible movement of troops and matériel. And your presence and support allowed the Iraqi people to continue to build their government and economy.
Throughout your mission, you relied on your training, your fellow soldiers and most of all, your honor, commitment, and love of country. As ordinary citizens, you answered the nation’s call and served your country in extraordinary ways.
For those who went with you – and all those that went before you and paid the ultimate sacrifice – we will never forget their courage and dedication. The two fallen soldiers from the Idaho National Guard, Sergeant Beyers and Specialist Newby, will forever be in our memory and recognized for all that they gave for our country.
I also want thank your families who have also sacrificed. In a sense, this time has been a deployment for them as well. Your families have overcome the challenges of your absence – and successfully held down the home front while you were away.
In recognition of both you and your families, there is tremendous support for you across our state. As you tackle the transition back to civilian life – you are not alone.
The Oregon National Guard has a Reintegration Team to help link soldiers to resources for employment, school, and health care. The Federal Veteran’s Administration has dedicated Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom teams to help combat veterans cut through the bureaucracy. Veterans from all eras stand ready to help in veteran service organizations.
Most importantly – you have the continued friendships and connections with your fellow soldiers from 3-116. Be there for each other – here at home – just as you stood by each other in Iraq.
The determination and commitment of the 3rd Battalion, 116th Cavalry are reminders of what makes us so proud to be Oregonians. On behalf of a grateful state and nation – thank you for your service.
God bless you, God bless your families, and God bless Oregon and the United States of America.