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Minnesota National Guard
114th Transportation Company returns from Afghanistan

Friends, family and community members gathered to welcome home the 114th Transportation Company (114th TC) in Duluth, Roseville and Austin Thursday  Many of them carried American flags or signs with the names of their loved ones  At Roseville, a bagpipe band led the buses to the armory

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"It's important to me that they have the biggest, loudest welcome home that they can get"said Nicole Smith, who organized the ceremony for the Soldiers returning to Roseville including her husband, Staff Sgt T J Smith

The National Guard Soldiers were returning to Minnesota following their 12-month deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom

The 114th Transportation Company, known as "The Wolfpack", was stationed at the United States Marine Corps' Forward Operation Base (FOB) Leatherneck  They provided theatre convoy security and ground transport of mission essential supplies to the Marine Corps and other Coalition Forces throughout Afghanistan

"When we first arrived, we kept hearing that the National Guard doesn't have the standards," said 1st Sgt Scott Lehmkuhl  "After a short time on the ground we were setting the standards"

Welcome-home celebrations were held in Duluth for 65 Soldiers, Roseville for 62 Soldiers and Austin for 26 Soldiers

While in Afghanistan, the 114th TC lost one of its members, Spc George W Cauley, 24, of Walker, Minn, to an insurgent attack  Cauley died Oct 10, 2009 in Bagram, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained from an Improvised Explosive Device attack

"He was a little guy with a big spirit," said Chief Warrant Officer Charles Young, the Maintenance Chief for the 114th TC

Soldiers in the unit held a memorial run for Spc Cauley at FOB Leatherneck, Afghanistan  Over 400 Service members, contractors and civilians participated in a 403 mile run May 1st The distance of the run commemorated Cauley's truck, which was number W403

"The run was organized with the intent to ensure Cauley's sacrifice is not forgotten," said Cpt Jeffrey Nilsen, the 114th Transportation Company Commander

One of the unit's most notable accomplishments occurred in March 2010 as part of Operation Lava During this operation the 114th Transportation Company worked extensively with British and Afghani forces to provide critical supplies and transportation to a British Army "Gurka" Unit in Helmand Provence

Soldiers of the 114th represent 108 communities around the state of Minnesota

By Master Sgt Rich Kemp
9 June, 2010


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