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Story by: Master Sgt. Corine Lombardo - Joint Forces Headquarters
Dated: Sat, Jan 21, 2012
Stratton Air National Guard Base, Scotia, NY -- Thirty New York Army National Guard Soldiers celebrated their return from service overseas with family and friends during their Freedom Salute ceremony, here Jan 21.
Soldiers of the Glenville based, 501st Ordnance Battalion were honored and recognized for their faithful service in Iraq and received a flag and other mementos to commemorate their combat service in support of Operation New Dawn. The children and spouses of Soldiers also received items.
"This is just one way the National Guard recognizes our Soldiers for their service and thanks their spouses, children and employers for their sacrifices and support they have shown throughout the deployment cycle," said New York National Guard Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Patrick Murphy
The Freedom Salute Campaign is one of the largest Army National Guard recognition endeavors in history and was launched nationwide in 2003 to recognize members of the Army National Guard for their service during Operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn. Each Soldier received an encased American Flag, a lapel insignia, a sequentially numbered, limited edition National Guard commemorative coin and a certificate of appreciation from the Army National Guard. The Soldier’s spouse/significant other received a lapel insignia while Soldiers with children received a Future Soldier Footlocker Kit. The kit included the Daring Eagle board game, Mission Command game, and Army National Guard trading cards.
The Soldiers returned from their deployment on Oct. 15. While in Iraq the 501st Ordnance Battalion was responsible for counter-IED operations in nine provinces of southern Iraq, a region of about 81,000-square miles. This includes the main north-south highway known to the Military as MSR (Main Supply Route) Tampa, which is the road that U.S. military supplies and Soldiers enter and leave Iraq over.
The Soldiers maintained a communications network that included both unclassified and classified data and voice systems, and submitted 270 daily situation reports. The Soldiers of the 501st also prepared more than intelligence products detailing counter-IED operations in their area of responsibility.
“I am impressed with our Soldiers commitment and patriotism. They did an incredible job and their willingness to stand ready to do it all again speaks volumes about their character,” said Lt. Col. Robert Mitchell, the unit’s commander.