Returning soldiers to pass area on Hwy-10
Yellow ribbons will fly along Highway 10 within the next week, as dozens of soldiers from throughout the region from the 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 34th Infantry Division -- The "Red Bulls" -- are expected to return to Minnesota over the next...
Yellow ribbons will fly along Highway 10 within the next week, as dozens of soldiers from throughout the region from the 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 34th Infantry Division -- The "Red Bulls" -- are expected to return to Minnesota over the next week.
Dozens of soldiers from the Becker, Otter Tail and Wadena County areas are expected to arrive Sunday.
The 2,600 soldiers with the Minnesota National Guard's 1st Brigade Combat Team have been deployed 22 months, 16 months of which were in a combat zone.
"Bring out your banners, bring out your American flags, hang your yellow ribbons, and make signs," said Tim Schmitz, Perham, parent of soldier Luke Schmitz, who was wounded a year ago in Iraq. There won't be a stopover on Highway 10, however, until the soldiers reach Detroit Lakes.
Though times are tentative and approximate, a motor escort and convoy of buses carrying soldiers from the Detroit Lakes based 2/136th CAB is expected to come through New York Mills and Perham between noon and 1:30 p.m. on Sunday. In Detroit Lakes, a video presentation is slated for 2 p.m. at the high school, followed by a welcome home ceremony at 2:30 p.m.
The homecomings started July 16 at Brooklyn Park, and will continue at Armory sites throughout the state into next week.
Ten soldiers from B Company, 1st of the 34th Brigade Troops Battalion arrived Tuesday at the Moorhead Armory, 1002 15th Avenue North, Moorhead.
On Friday, July 20, 140 soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 134th Forward Support Battalion will arrive at the Camp Ripley Armory, Little Falls.
"We're hoping people help welcome home the brave warriors," said Tim Schmitz, noting that a yellow ribbon campaign is underway in the Perham area. "The Freedom Bus will pass on Highway 10."
Though officially retired from the military after a land mine explosion cost him his leg, Luke Schmitz is planning to join his comrades in Little Falls and ride the bus to Detroit Lakes.
From the general area, including Perham, New York Mills, Frazee, Detroit Lakes, Vergas, Wolf Lake and points in between, there are about 57 soldiers returning, counted Tim Schmitz.
Specific times of the motorcade and arrival in Detroit Lakes will be announced as they are confirmed. Information will appear on the perhameb.com website, and also be announced on Lakes 99.5 radio.
Also check www.MinnesotaNationalGuard.org for the most up-to-date "welcome home" ceremony status.
The 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 34th Infantry Division has been deployed in a combat zone longer than any other military unit in Operation Iraqi Freedom. In fact, the unit has served longer than any other Minnesota unit since World War II. Its mission was extended by 125 days as part of the troop surge ordered by President Bush.
The "Red Bulls" had the dangerous mission of escorting convoys, securing supply routes and safeguarding logistics bases.
It is a highly decorated group. In total, they've been awarded 180 Purple Hearts for combat injuries, 485 Bronze Stars, 24 Bronze Stars with valor, and potentially four Silver Stars.
Nine members of the 1st Brigade Combat Team have been killed in Iraq, including Josh Hanson, Dent, and Greg Riewer, Frazee.
The Minnesota soldiers have completed their out-processing and demobilization at Ft. McCoy, Wisconsin and will travel by motor coach to armories across Minnesota. Ten communities will welcome back soldiers over the course of the week.
During these initial returns, soldiers will disembark from their motor coach, assemble in a military formation, and then be dismissed so that they can reunite with their loved ones. Official "welcome home" ceremonies will occur at future dates.