HARTFORD, Conn. – The Connecticut National Guard hosted a welcome home ceremony for the 1-102nd Infantry Battalion (Mountain) at the Gov. William A. O’Neill Armory in Hartford March 17, 2022.
More than 550 Soldiers from the 1-102nd recently spent nearly a year deployed to the Horn of Africa performing critical infrastructure security and regional response force missions in support of Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa.
“The men and women on the 1-102nd Infantry spent many months deployed overseas in support of the United States and away from their family and friends,” said Gov. Ned Lamont. “I am incredibly proud to welcome them back home to Connecticut after a job well done. I am very thankful for the support they have provided to our country, and grateful to have these exemplary Soldiers as members of the Connecticut National Guard. I thank each of them for the sacrifices they have made during their deployment.”
This was the largest single overseas deployment of Connecticut Guardsmen since the 1-102nd’s last deployment in 2009. In total, more than 1,000 National Guardsmen from Connecticut, Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, and Colorado were deployed as “Task Force Iron Gray” in support of the mission. The battalion was dispersed across the U.S. Africa Command area of responsibility, including Djibouti and Kenya.
“I am incredibly proud to welcome the men and women of the 1-102nd back home to Connecticut,” said Maj. Gen. Francis Evon, adjutant general for the Connecticut National Guard. “I thank them and their families for their sacrifice and service in support of our nation. As we have all seen in the news lately, regional security affects global security. The Soldiers of the 1-102nd successfully conducted operations with our partner forces and protected critical ports and airfields. Their efforts supported U.S. security objectives abroad in an area of the world contested by other great powers.”
The 1-102nd is headquartered in New Haven and has companies stationed in Branford, Southington, Middletown, and Danbury. It has a long and storied history dating back to 1672 with service in many of America’s wars.
The nickname “Iron Gray” is an homage to the battalion’s lineage as the New Haven Grays in the early 1800s and their distinctive gray uniforms. Famously, the battalion served in France during World War I under the 26th Yankee Division and, more recently, deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from 2009-2010.
“I am delighted that we are able to welcome the men and women of the 1-102nd Infantry home,” said Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz. “Their dedication to our country and our state leaves with me great pride and gratitude. After months away, they will finally be able to enjoy time with their families and loved ones. There will never be enough words to thank them for their service.”