Family, friends welcome home Northland National Guard soldiers (with video)The steady rain did not go unnoticed by the crowd gathered at the Duluth Armory early Sunday afternoon, but no one was complaining. Weather was of little concern — their soldiers were coming home.
By: News Tribune staff, Duluth News Tribune
The steady rain did not go unnoticed by the crowd gathered at the Duluth Armory early Sunday afternoon, but no one was complaining.
Weather was of little concern — their soldiers were coming home.
The progress of the bus carrying about 30 Minnesota Army National Guard soldiers home to the Northland, after a nearly yearlong deployment in Iraq and Kuwait, was tracked by cell phone calls. Someone reported that it was leaving Cloquet, where it dropped off about eight soldiers. Then it was passing Spirit Mountain. And then, finally, it appeared on Airpark Boulevard and came to a stop in the Armory’s front parking lot.
The soldiers of the 1st Squadron, 94th Calvary, 1st Brigade Combat team got off the bus, laden with bags and gear, and were enveloped by the crowd of family, friends and community members.
It was the first wave of what should be several groups of National Guard soldiers arriving back in the Northland in the coming weeks.
The soldiers of 1st Squadron, 94th Cavalry deployed last May. They escorted and provided security for supply convoys during the drawdown of U.S. forces in Iraq.
Capt. Jeff Houglum of Duluth, the first one off the bus on Sunday, commended the job the soldiers did while overseas, noting that they provided security for nearly 250,000 miles of convoys into and out of Iraq. On Sunday, they covered the final miles back to Duluth to complete their deployment.
“We’re just glad to bring them home to the ones they said goodbye to,” Houglum said.