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222nd Quartermaster Detachment Returns Home

29th Infantry Division Unit was called to Support Operation Enduring Freedom

STAUNTON, Va Ė Solders of the 222nd Support Detachment, Virginia Army National Guard returned today from Ft. Bragg, N.C. The 222nd was called to active duty on January 17, 2003 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The unitís mission is to provide water storage and distribution in hot, arid climates.

Family members and loved ones welcome home their soldiers, above, of the 222nd Support Det., while PFC Schmittimger takes a break with his child.

(Photos by Maj. Ed Larkin)

(Click on images for full size)

While at Ft. Bragg, the soldiers successfully completed administrative processing and combat skills training in preparation for deployment. Combat refresher training included weaponís qualification and chemical, nuclear and biological protection.

"We are proud of these soldiers and we are happy they are home, safe with their families and loved ones," said Maj. Gen. Daniel Long, 29th Infantry Division (Light) Commander. 222nd is one of several 29th Infantry Division units or soldiers on active duty supporting the War on Terrorism, Peacekeeping and supporting the defense of the homeland.

The 29th is one of the most decorated divisions in the Army National Guard; and also is among the most honored in United States Army history. Many of its units have lineage and honors that pre-dates the American Revolution.

The division served with distinction in the Meuse-Argonne offensive of World War I, but is most famous for being one of the five divisions, and the only National Guard division, which made the initial assault into Normandy, France to begin the invasion of Adolf Hitlerís "Fortress Europe" during World War II.

The 29th Infantry Division landed alongside the 1st Infantry Division on Omaha Beach at 6:30 a.m. on D-Day, June 6, 1944, and its performance on that fateful day has lifted its reputation to almost mythic proportions. The divisionís assault elements suffered more than 660 of the more than 2,500 American casualties (killed, wounded, missing) on D-Day. By the end of World War II with 242 days in combat, the 29th Infantry Division had suffered 20,324 killed or wounded, one of the highest casualty rates of any division in the war.

Thursday June 19, 2003