loren Eric Swanson: Welcome home!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Welcome home!

Las Cruces Sun News
Feb 19, 2006, 06:00 am

The 182 members of the 126th Military Police Company of the New Mexico National Guard, many of whom are from Las Cruces and the surrounding area, march from an airplane to their waiting family and friends before dawn Saturday at Biggs Army Airfield in El Paso.
They are returning after being deployed about 18 months in Iraq, said Luke Elliott of the Fort Bliss Public Affairs Office.

The soldiers will be given a three-day pass before beginning debriefings, turning in equipment and getting physical examinations.
They will then go to their headquarters in Albuquerque, where the unit will spend three to five days.
The 42 soldiers from southern New Mexico will be honored with a welcome home parade at 10 a.m., March 4 in Las Cruces.

For more photos, log on to

Watching Fox News today we also saw this story on TV. The video showed a picture of the big heart-shaped sign Ashlie brought along (but cut us out).

We're still basking in the joy of having our son back safe and sound.
Cruces soldiers set to come back from Iraq
Feb 16, 2006, 06:00 am

Another group of Las Cruces soldiers who have been on deployment the past year in Iraq could be coming home this weekend.
Officials with the New Mexico National Guard have confirmed that 182 members of the 126th Military Police Co. could arrive at Biggs Army Airfield either late Friday night or early Saturday morning. New Mexico National Guard members who return from assignments in Iraq, Afghanistan or Kuwait typically return to Biggs, which is located in northeast El Paso, adjacent to El Paso International Airport and Fort Bliss. "I am so excited, very excited," said Veronica Rodriguez, whose son, Esteban is among the group of soldiers returning. "It's a lot of stress (getting ready for Rodriguez's return) but a lot of stress will be gone, too."
Part of that stress will be waiting for official word that the soldiers are indeed coming home. Lt. Col. Kimberly Lalley, spokeswoman for the New Mexico National Guard, said "everything is tentative" until the soldiers have left Iraqi air space.
"It's possible that something could happen that would change the time they leave," Lalley said. "But it's been that way with every group of soldiers that has come back from deployment. Everything is still up in the air. They still haven't left country (Iraq) yet."
But orders for the soldiers' return have been issued. Of the 182 soldiers, 42 are from southern New Mexico, which includes the communities of Las Cruces, Mesilla Park, Doña Ana, La Mesa, Deming, and Animas. The 126th Military Police Co. is headquartered in Albuquerque.
When the soldiers do return, they will arrive at Biggs where they will be reunited with family and friends. Lalley said the soldiers will likely be given a pass to spend a few days with their families, but will be required to return Tuesday to Fort Bliss to begin debriefings and begin the processes of turning in equipment, getting physical examinations and slowly returning to civilian life.
"Those days will be pretty filled up," Lalley said. "They should be at Fort Bliss at least until February 25 or 26."
The unit will return to Albuquerque, where it will spend three to five days. During that time, a parade will be conducted.
For the soldiers from southern New Mexico, city officials are planning a welcome-home parade at 10 a.m. March 4. The parade will begin at Apodaca Park and would follow much of the same route that used for the city's Fourth of July Electric Light Parade.
The parade will travel south on Solano Drive to Hadley Avenue and end at Ralph Maag Park, where a ceremony, followed by a cookout, will be staged to honor the soldiers.
"We owe it to them," said Councilor Dolores Archuleta. "I am just thrilled to hear they are coming home."
Maj. Augustin Nakamoto, administrative officer of the 217th Light Infantry Brigade of the New Mexico National Guard, in Las Cruces said except for a few Las Crucens still on deployment, almost all Guard members will be home.
"We still have 12 soldiers who are in Afghanistan," said Nakamoto, referring to Guard members who are training Afghan military. "When everybody finally gets back that should be it for a while. Unless something really wild happens it should be another two or three years, at least, before any of our soldiers have to go back out."


At Sunday, February 19, 2006 3:57:00 PM, Anonymous mark said...

That is a GREAT picture!


At Wednesday, February 22, 2006 8:25:00 AM, Blogger Steve Morgan said...

We rejoice that Jeff is home safe. You must be so proud of him! Tell him thanks for standing in the gap to protect our freedom!


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