Local soldiers honored
RAYBURN — There was no better day than the fourth anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001 to honor the soldiers of the 332 Engineering Co. for their service in the Persian Gulf, said Col. David T. Mitchell, commander of the 38th Ordinance Group.
Twenty-six soldiers of the 332nd who had served in Kuwait and Iraq were honored with the “Welcome Home Warrior-Citizen Award” at a ceremony yesterday at the 332nd Army Reserve Center, Kittanning.
The 26 soldiers, having returned to Pennsylvania in January 2004, each received an American flag in a triangular wood and glass case, a Welcome Home Warrior Citizen unit flag, lapel pins and a commemorative coin.
The flag cases bore the inscription: “Warrior Citizens, in appreciation for your faithful military service. Your Selfless sacrifice and excellent performance of duty is reflective of the Army’s Warrior Ethos. Your patriotic service as a true Warrior Citizen will never be forgotten.”
Col. Mitchell said the 332nd hauled bulk materials in direct support of combat heavy engineer battalions and construction support companies performing main supply route and airfield maintenance and construction.
The company commander, Capt. Robert Harper, said the company served in Arifjan, Kuwait and some members served at Talil Air Base in Iraq.
Major Greg Yesko, public affairs officer for the 99th Regional Readiness Command, Coraopolis, said the 332nd has a proud history of service dating back to World War II when it was constituted as the 661st Engineering Co. and served in combat zones in Italy, France, the Ardennes and Central Europe.
Mitchell told the soldiers that it was because of the events of Sept. 11, 2001 that they were called to serve. He said that while some questioned the readiness and effectiveness of the Army Reserves’ role in the Gulf War, reserve units served with the highest degree of excellence, professionalism and dedication.