FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Maj. Matt Snead
State Public Affairs Officer
Arkansas National Guard
Arkansas Guardsmen Honored for Service in Afghanistan ~ Freedom Salute recognizes 1039th Route Clearance Company
JONESBORO, Ark. – Approximately 95 Soldiers with the Harrisburg based 1039th Route Clearance Company of the 875th Engineer Battalion, 87th Troop Command, were honored along with their families at a Freedom Salute ceremony at the Valley View Fine Arts Center in Jonesboro on Sunday.
Maj. Gen. William D. Wofford, the adjutant general of Arkansas, was the featured speaker during the event.
During their deployment, soldiers of the 1039th spent nine months clearing routes of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Afghanistan and training the Afghan National Army to take over that mission.
The Freedom Salute is a nationwide campaign recognizing National Guard members who served in Operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Each first-time deployed soldier received an encased American flag among other items presented during the ceremony. Second time deplorers received a ring and a beautiful clock. For more than three deployments, soldiers received certificates.
“In addition to the sacrifices our soldiers have made in performing their mission, the families sacrifice also,” said Wofford, “If it wasn’t for the support our soldiers get from their families, friends and employers back home, they wouldn’t have been able to perform as well as they did.“
According to Capt. Seth Jacobs, the 1039th Company Commander, the members of the 1039th successfully overcame all challenges that came their way during this mobilization.
“We could not have done it,” said Jacobs, “without the great support from the community and the family support group. Whenever we needed something, the community was there for us.”
During their nine months in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, the unit conducted over 200 missions, cleared over 30 improvised explosive devices and traveled over 20,000 kilometers of roadway scanning the path for potential danger. Additionally the unit trained an Afghan National Army company on route clearance techniques, preparing the Afghans to take over the mission going forward.
“I want you all to know that you did a fantastic job,” continued Wofford. “I’m proud of you, and the state of Arkansas is proud of you for your dedication and service.”
The Arkansas soldiers initially departed the state on June 30, 2012 en route to Fort Bliss, Texas, where they trained for the deployment. The unit returned to the U.S. May 3, 2013 and returned to Arkansas May 15. A series of re-integration events over three months helped the soldiers ease back into their normal lives.
See photo at right
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Congratulations to the 1039th on a job well done!
Maj. Gen. William D. Wofford, the adjutant general of Arkansas, congratulates 1039th Route Clearance Company soldier Sgt. Gregory L. Carter at the Freedom Salute ceremony held for the 1039th Route Clearance Company at Valley View High School Fine Arts Center in Jonesboro on Aug. 4, 2013. The soldiers of the 1039th Route Clearance Company, 87th Engineer Battalion, 87th Troop Command were honored at the ceremony for their service and bravery in Afghanistan where they cleared routes of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and trained their Afghan counterparts to take over the mission. (Arkansas National Guard photo by Maj. Donnie Crain/Released.)
additional photos available - go to Arkansas National Guard Facebook page