Governor Granholm Joins in Homecoming Celebration for Soldiers Returning from Iraq

Contact: Liz Boyd 517-335-6397

December 1, 2005

LANSING – Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today joined friends and family in a homecoming celebration for 149 Michigan Army National Guard soldiers who returned home following a 12-month tour of duty in Iraq.  The soldiers were among the many members of the Michigan National Guard Granholm met on her recent visit to the Middle East.

“These are magnificent soldiers, citizen soldiers, who put their lives on hold for a year to serve our nation,” Granholm said.  “We owe them and their families a debt of gratitude for their willingness to serve in such a selfless way.  We must continue to support them and all of our Michigan soldiers 100 percent.”

At the invitation of the U.S. Departments of State and Defense, Granholm spent five days visiting members of Michigan’s National Guard serving in Kuwait and Iraq over the recent Thanksgiving holiday.

While in the region, the Governor shared a ride on a C-130 cargo plane with members of the Lansing-based 1st Battalion, 119th Field Artillery Battalion beginning their return trip home.  During her visit, she also met members of the 1072nd Maintenance Company, which includes soldiers from the Upper Peninsula and Detroit; B Company 1st Battalion 125th Infantry out of Saginaw; the 1073rd Maintenance Company from Greenville; and the 107th Engineer Battalion unit from the Upper Peninsula.

The 119th Field Artillery was called to active duty in October 2004 and sent to Fort McCoy, Wisconsin for in-processing and mission specific training.  They arrived in Iraq two days before Christmas.

Today, approximately 2,100 Michigan National Guard soldiers and airmen are deployed across the globe at locations such as Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Bosnia.  Since September 11, 2001, 65 percent of the Michigan Guard has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom; however, as Michigan troops serve the nation, more than 80 percent of the Michigan Guard remains available and ready to respond to a state emergency, including a terrorist event. 

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