By Tom Zimmerman, U.S. Army War College Public Affairs OfficeApril 15, 2008
As the U.S. Army Reserves prepares to celebrate it's 100th anniversary, more than 20 reserve Soldiers were honored for their service during a Welcome Home Warrior-Citizen Ceremony April 11 in Bliss Hall at Carlisle Barracks, home of the U.S. Army War College.
Soldiers from the 80th Training Command, The Army School System, were presented with flags, commemorative coins and lapel pins during the nearly three-hour ceremony. The 80th Division is made up more than 2,700 Army Reserve Soldiers assigned to 40 units in Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.
"Thank you for a job well done," said Maj. Gen. David Evans, Commanding General of the 80th Training Command. "Be proud of getting a difficult job done." The call of our 80th Division Soldiers to support Operation Iraqi Freedom was the largest call-up of their forces since World War II. More than 400 servicemembers are still deployed around the world and this was Evan's 21st Welcome Home Warrior Ceremony.
Evans also took the time to thank the family members in attendance.
"Without the support of loved ones your job wouldn't be possible," he said. "Each of you has made a great sacrifice, many we can't repay you for."
He also stressed the need for the Soldiers and their families to take advantage of the services available to them to help ease the transition back from deployment.
""Re-establish your lives, reconnect with your family, employer and community," said Evans. "Soldiers change during mobilization. Separations of one-plus years are hard on families. Be patient, it takes time, don't let it destroy your life."
Also honored were four 80th Soldiers who died while on deployment.
"While we celebrate and recognize your hard work and accomplishments we also pause to remember those who we lost," said Col. Paul Benenati, Assistant Division Commander of the 80th Training Command. Recognized were Lt. Col. Thomas A. Wren, Staff Sgt, Robert Hernandez, Sgt. Fist Class Otie McVey and Spc. David Cissel. A display was also set up with the Soldiers pictures during the ceremony. Fifty four 80th Division Soldiers have been wounded in action.
The Welcome Home ceremonies began in 2004, after being authorized by Congress to honor reserve Soldiers. Evans said that it was very important to recognize these citizen-Soldiers.
"You are the true heroes of this generation," he said. Iraq and other nations are on the road to democracy thanks to the work you and others have done. Welcome home heroes, we salute you."