Monday, January 14, 2013
There was a homecoming in Moncks Corner over Christmas weekend.
More than 800 Soldiers of the South Carolina National Guard’s 4th Battalion, 118th Infantry, Task Force Rifles, including local soldiers from A-Company, Sumter Guards, returned home on Dec. 23 after a year-long mobilization and deployment to Kuwait.
Soldiers of Task Force Rifles arrived at Columbia Metropolitan’s Eagle Aviation and were then bused throughout the state to their respective armories.
The unit mobilized in January 2012 and was then deployed to Kuwait in April after a training period at Camp Shelby, MS. During their deployment overseas, Task Force Rifles provided administrative and logistical support for three camps stationed in northern Kuwait.
A total of 147 soldiers from the area conducted numerous training events and one real-world deployment to Jordan, where a platoon size element conducted security operations. The unit participated in both offensive and defensive operations, culminating with a company-sized combined arms live fire exercise.
They were commanded by Lt. Col. Frederick Pasley of Charleston.
“We are happy to have these soldiers home to celebrate the holidays with their families, and we remember all service members who are still deployed,” said Maj. Gen. Robert E. Livingston Jr., the adjutant general of South Carolina. “We are proud of the 4-118th citizen soldiers and all you have accomplished.
“Job well done.”
Standing in for Moncks Corner Mayor Bill Peagler, Moncks Corner attorney John West welcomed home the soldiers. Peagler, who volunteers as an assistant girls basketball coach at St. John’s Christian Academy, could not attend the ceremony due to a basketball tournament and asked West to wish all of the soldiers and their families a very Merry Christmas and welcome home from him.
“Your continued sacrifices on behalf of freedom and our way of life are most appreciated,” the mayor said in a prepared statement. “I cannot tell you how much it means to your spouses and children and this town to have you home.
“We know how much your family and community have missed you. The cost of freedom you know all too well and unfortunately your families here at home have also had to sacrifice.”
The soldiers received a hero’s welcome upon their arrival at the Moncks Corner National Guard armory.
“You inspire me,” Peagler said. “You’ve earned your place among the greatest generation of Americans. “Thanks to the courage and precision of our forces, the terrorist who started this war and who took so many innocent lives learned that America does not forget; America will ensure that justice is done.
“We may take a hit. We may endure great loss. But we are a strong and resilient people. We push on. We persevere. We’re confident in our cause. And we know that, like generations of Americans before us, we will emerge stronger than before.”
The South Carolina National Guard comprises more than 11,000 Soldiers and Airmen who serve their state and nation. Members of the South Carolina National Guard deploy worldwide as needed in response to the National Command Authority and Governor Nikki Haley.