June 10, 2008
Tennessee Army National Guard Honors
Soldiers Back from Iraq
Sen. Beavers speaks and presents Senate
NASHVILLE – The soldiers of the 130th Support Center Corps Rear Area Operations Center (RAOC) of the Tennessee Army National Guard were all smiles as they gathered together on Sunday, June 8, with their comrades, family, and friends for a recognition ceremony at the Tennessee National Guard Volunteer Training Site in Smyrna. The soldiers were honored for their valiant service in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Several military officials attended the ceremony, including CPT Jamie Ledbetter as the Master of Ceremonies and representing Major General Gus Hargett Jr., the Adjutant General of Tennessee, was Brigadier General Mike Malone as the guest speaker. State Senator Mae Beavers (R – Mt. Juliet) also attended the ceremony as a guest speaker and presented a Senate Joint Resolution passed during the legislative session to the unit.
The unit was mobilized on May 23, 2007, underwent training, and was deployed to Iraq as the support and sustainment command for the Forward Operation Base at Camp Bucca, a prison camp for security detainees in the desert of southern Iraq. The members of the 130th Support Center Corps RAOC managed all logistics, supply, transportation, engineering, construction, and base life support operation for nearly 30,000 inhabitants of Camp Bucca. The unit accomplished much during their service, including planning and expanding the dining facility twice, planning and overseeing the construction of two new internet cafes for fellow soldiers, planning and constructing housing for 1,500
additional soldiers, overseeing the construction of a new chapel, building a new weapons qualification range, and initiating a counter-insurgency operation to search and inspect the visiting families of detainees.
“As an American citizen who lives in a free nation because of the sacrifices of our soldiers, it is my honor to personally thank the unit for their brave and dedicated service to our country,” stated Beavers. “I am proud of this unit and all that they have done to help ensure our lasting liberty. These soldiers truly embody and demonstrate the qualities we are proud of here in the Volunteer State and for that I am grateful. It is important that we all take a few moments to express our gratitude to our soldiers and their families for all that they do to protect America.”
In addition to the speeches, several awards were distributed. Ten Bronze Star Medals were awarded: LTC William Del Castillo of Johnson City, LTC Charles Collins of Mt. Juliet, LTC Robert Hibbett of Mt. Juliet, MAJ Travis Powell of Nunnelly, MSG Emmett Fowler of Fayetteville, MSG Charles Myers of Estill Springs, CW2 William Potts of Santa Fe, CW5 Larry Church of Mt. Pleasant, SFC Melvin Brown of Nashville, SSG Webb Bussell of Maynardville. Two Army Commendation Medals were also presented: SGT Catherine MacKinnon of Clarksville and SFC Phyllis Thomas of Nashville.
All members of the 130th Support Center Corps RAOC returned home safely to Tennessee on March 10, 2008.
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