Soldiers of the Oregon Army National Guard’s 1249 Engineer Battalion arrived at Salem Municipal Airport in Salem, Ore., Dec. 8, following a 400-day deployment to Afghanistan.
Approximately 51 Soldier Engineers returned directly to the Salem airport around 3:00 p.m. via civilian contracted transport. This is the first time the 1249 Engineers have used the airport for returning from a deployment.
The remaining Soldiers are scheduled to return to Oregon on Monday, Dec. 12. The exact location and time of the second group’s return will be announced as soon as the information is available.
Approximately 175 Soldiers from throughout Oregon deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The unit’s primary role was command and control, while providing support for Task Force Gridley.
“Overall this was an extremely successful mission,” said Maj. Russell Gibson, 1249 Engineer Battalion Operations Officer.
The unit took part in construction projects as well as command and control missions throughout eastern and northern Afghanistan, said Gibson.
“Our Soldiers were well trained and prepared for the mission, and understood the impact to both U.S. and Afghanistan forces, and more importantly to the people of Afghanistan,” Gibson said.
The unit’s mission was to support construction missions in an area roughly the size of Oregon. They first completed pre-deployment training at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin as part of the 400 day mobilization.
The battalion was mobilized in 2003 supporting Operation Noble Eagle to provide Homeland Security missions in both Washington and Oregon. This will be the first overseas mobilization for the 1249 Engineer Battalion Headquarters and Forward Support Companies.