|Local Guard unit back in US; return to UC expected in days |
|Posted: Thursday, August 9, 2012 9:03 pm |
| By CHRIS MENEES |
The 913th Engineer Co. is back on American soil.
Soldiers from the Union City-based Tennessee Army National Guard unit landed safely at Fort Bliss, Texas, Wednesday night.
The 913th is back in the United States today after being deployed one year ago in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation New Dawn — during which time the horizontal engineer unit had soldiers serving in Kuwait as well as Afghanistan.
The entire unit arrived by plane at the Army base in El Paso near the Texas-New Mexico border by 8:45 p.m. (9:45 p.m. Union City time) Wednesday, according to 1st Lt. Frederick Agee, public affairs officer for the 230th Engineer Battalion, who phoned at 10 p.m. local time to confirm the arrival.
The 913th will remain at Fort Bliss for seven to nine days for outprocessing from active duty and the soldiers should return to Union City “sometime late next week,” Agee said.
The soldiers are expected to fly from Fort Bliss to Smyrna for some additional outprocessing before traveling by bus to Union City. The exact date and time of the 913th’s return to Union City has not been finalized, but it will likely be made public early next week.
The 913th’s Family Readiness Group hopes the community will turn out in force to welcome the soldiers home as they roll back into Union City. Members of the group recently sold homecoming shirts which they hope will be highly visible at the happy occasion.
Even though they are at Fort Bliss for a few more days, the 913th will be honored Monday when a flag pole is dedicated to the unit during the opening ceremony for the Obion County Fair. The event will be held at 5 p.m. at the grandstand, where a plaque will be placed with the flag pole to note the honor.
In preparation for the return home, a transfer of authority ceremony took place last Friday at Camp Arijan, Kuwait, where the Tennessee Army National Guard’s 230th Engineer Battalion of Trenton — which the 913th falls under — transferred authority to the 505th Engineer Battalion of the North Carolina National Guard. The 913th was replaced in Kuwait by the 875th Engineer Co. from North Carolina.
While in Kuwait, the 913th completed several horizontal construction projects which accumulated thousands of equipment hours and included moving thousands of dump truck loads of soil or gravel. Projects included construction and maintenance of lots used to store equipment or supplies throughout Kuwait, as well as some de-construction of facilities no longer needed, and construction and maintenance of several miles of road.
The 913th also had a platoon in Afghanistan working on a priority engineer mission which the company commander said will aid in the retrograde of equipment and supplies out of Afghanistan when U.S. forces draw down.
The 913th left its armory in Union City Aug. 18, 2011, for the 12-month deployment and spent several weeks training in the New Mexico desert at Fort Bliss before actually arriving in Kuwait Oct. 9, 2011.
Published in The Messenger 8.9.12