Kilgore Guard Unit Honored - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Kilgore Guard Unit Honored

An East Texas National Guard Unit is recognized today for their commitment and bravery in a ceremony in Kilgore. They spent a year in Iraq, serving our country. And today, "Operation:  Freedom Salute" honored the soldiers of "Bravo Company" of the 144th infantry division.

"Today we formally recognize these great soldiers for their dedication and commitment to the warrior ethos," said National Guard Colonel Samuel Henry.

65 members of "Bravo Company" stood tall as they were honored for their stalwart service in Iraq.

"You did all the things you think you couldn't have done and we were successful and did them anyway. So today is one of those days where a soldier can stand and stick his chest out and hear a general speak and say, 'I did do that'," said Bravo Company commanding officer, Captain James Johnson.

Deployed in 2006, Bravo Company logged more than 1460 missions through some of the most embattled areas of Iraq. Today they were awarded commendations and thanks from the National Guard and a grateful community.

"Its a good event for the soldiers. It recognizes them for the service that they did, and the time away from their home, friends, family and work" said Sergeant First Class John Dietz.

"Its always nice just to hear someone say thank you," said Lieutenant Brad Clark.

For the soldiers, it's an honor they will keep with them always.

"Those are things they can hold on to show their children show their families," Clark said.

They've done their jobs and are proud to be recognized for it.

"That chapter of your life is closed.  We appreciate the job you do and now its on to bigger and better things," Johnson says.  

Throughout all their missions and deployments, Bravo Company did not suffer a single casualty. They all came home.

Bob Hallmark reporting/  


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