|Updated: 12/15/2011 12:16 pm
||Published: 12/15/2011 12:06 pm
FORT HOOD, TX - A eight National Guardsmen returned to the U.S. via Fort Hood Thursday morning, wrapping up their unit's deployment in support of Operation New Dawn. The Soldiers are a small sample of the 125 Guardsmen with the Camp Robinson-based 77th Theater Aviation Brigade Headquarters who originally departed the state on February 17, 2011. This will mark the first time since 2003 that all Arkansas Guard units will be home for Christmas.
While deployed, the Arkansas Soldiers served in Tallil, Iraq with the mission to provide corps-level command and control for all aviation assets under the United States Division - South (USD-S). The unit was originally slated for a full 12-month mobilization, but the end of U.S. operations in Iraq provided an early return for the Soldiers with the first wave of 80 troops returning home just prior to Thanksgiving. This week's returning Soldiers are anticipated to return to the state over the next few days after completing mobilization out-processing at Fort Hood.
While operations in Iraq have ended, the Arkansas National Guard continues to prepare approximately 3,000 of its Soldiers for a potential mobilization to Afghanistan in the summer of 2012.