LA Guardsmen Return from Iraq

Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 9:58am

PINEVILLE, La. – After a year-long deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, approximately 120 Soldiers from the Louisiana Army National Guard’s 225th Engineer Brigade were welcomed home during a special reception at Camp Beauregard near Pineville, La., Nov. 15.

The Guardsmen, who are assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, were greeted by Governor Bobby Jindal, Maj. Gen. Bennett C. Landreneau, the adjutant general of the LANG, and other local officials as they stepped off the bus to a crowd of cheering family and friends.

“The Soldiers of the 225th and their families are truly great Americans,” said Landreneau. “These Guardsmen stepped up to our nation’s call to protect our freedom. Many of them were on their second deployment or more, which is a testament of their patriotism and sense of duty.”

While Jindal and Landreneau greeted each Guardsman and praised them for their great service, family and friends waited anxiously to shower their loved-ones with hugs and kisses.

“The emotions that I feel today are unexplainable,” said Sandy Gammill, of Lafayette, La., who welcomed home both of her sons, Sgt. 1st Class Russell Seamans and Spc. Keith Gammill. “I am blessed to be here and welcome them on a safe return.”

Brig. Gen. Owen Monconduit, who led the 225th in Iraq, stepped of the bus first in order to shake each of his Soldiers’ hands. “They all did a great job, and I just want to thank each of them to show how proud I am,” he said.

While deployed, the 225th cleared routes of improvised explosive devices, assisted in protecting Soldiers and enhancing their quality of life with general engineering, worked with local leaders on water, sewer and electrical projects and partnered closely with and trained Iraqi Army engineer counterparts.

Photo Information: PINEVILLE, La. – Lt. Col. Lee A. Lavespere, of the Louisiana Army National Guard’s 225th Engineer Brigade, is greeted by his wife and son at a homecoming reception at Camp Beauregard near Pineville, La., Nov. 15. The Soldiers of Headquarters and Headquarters Company returned home after serving a year-long deployment in Support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Toby M. Valadie, Louisiana National Guard State Public Affairs Office)