By Robert R. RamonAugust 13, 2009
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Soldiers of the 208th Regional Support Group Headquarters Company were honored during a Welcome Home Warrior-Citizen ceremony Aug. 8 at Army Community Service. The 208th recently completed a 13-month deployment in support of the Global War on Terror.
"Their work ensured that America continues to take the fight to the terrorists and extremists," said U.S. Senator John Cornyn. "They gave the Iraqi people the space and time they needed in order to build their democracy."
Participating in the ceremony were Cornyn; Maj. Gen. Russell J. Czerw, commander, Fort Sam Houston and Army Medical Department Center and School; Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve representative retired Maj. Gen. Elvin Schofield; U.S. Congressman Charles Gonzalez's representative Susana Benavides; Col. Pete Bosse, 208th RSG commander, and numerous Family members and friends.
The approximately 25 Soldiers given the official welcome home had returned stateside April 28. They deployed together to Iraq in support of the Special Operations Command for Operation Iraqi Freedom. SOCOM requested certain personnel from the 208th headquarters and the 208th Tailored Logistics Element was formed. After conducting numerous clandestine missions with the Special Forces, the 208th returned and was demobilized at Fort Dix, N.J.
According to Czerw the 208th's performance during the deployment was nothing short of impressive.
"I am incredibly impressed by what you have accomplished over this time," Czerw said to the Soldiers. "Your mission is going to be marked in history. It is a continuous demonstration of professionalism and dedication to accomplishing what our nation asks of us," he said.
As a member of the unit, 1st. Sgt. Rene Paredez witnessed first-hand the professionalism and dedication displayed by each Soldier during the deployment.
"They did an outstanding job," said Paredez, the 208th RSG HHC first sergeant. "The consistent positive attitudes and enthusiasm is just what was needed out there. They were experts at getting individual jobs done quickly and with a high quality of work."
Cornyn said the ceremony was an opportunity to recognize the value of the Soldiers' service on behalf of a grateful nation.
"I wanted to come here today to say how much we, as a country, appreciate the service of each and every one of you," said Cornyn. "You served during a critical transition in Iraq when the United States implemented a surge that turned the war around," he said. "We applaud you for your commitment to the greater protection of our country and the future of our children and grandchildren."
President George W. Bush and Congress created the Welcome Home Warrior-Citizen Award Program in 2004 to acknowledge service abroad by Soldiers in the Army Reserve, such as those with the 208th. The award consists of a personalized, encased American flag, a yellow Welcome Home Warrior-Citizen flag, an Army Reserve Soldier lapel set and a specially-designed commemorative coin.