Serving Our Troops (described in my March 19 post) was invited to greet the last of the returning Red Bulls on May 5, 2012, on the Tarmac of the runway of the Minnesota National Guard's 134th Air Wing base. Serving Our Troops organizers and participants Pat Harris, John Marshall, Dennis Rosemark, Chuck Haas, Len Hoffman, Nancy Haas, and I were present to congratulate the Minnesota National Guard members after their year long deployment which included their mission in Iraq and Kuwait. Great it was to see the entire brigade returning from Ali Al Salem Air Base, Camp Arifjan, Camp Buehring, "K" Crossing, and Camp Virginia proudly deplaning carrying the brigade flags. I can only imagine the joyful reunions with family and friends which followed a short time later.
I was privileged and honored to have seen the First Brigade Combat Team at some of the intervals of training for the deployment--Camp Ripley, Fort McCoy (described in my post on July 29, 2011), Camp Arifjan and ultimately at their arrival home on a drizzly Saturday morning, not unlike the steak grilling weather at Camp Arifjan.
The soldiers were greeted, of course, by Adjutant General Richard Nash and other officers of the Minnesota National Guard. Thanks to the efforts of Head Chaplain of the Minnesota National Guard, Col. John Morris, we were all honored by the presence of Herb Suerth, a member of the 101st Airborne and a “Band of Brothers,” a great Minnesota hero wounded at the Battle of the Bulge.
Here are some photos from the day: