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Returning troops to get a ‘Hero’s Welcome’


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Since their return in January, the 118 members of the Montana National Guard 639th Quartermaster Company have been integrating back into the community after a second tour of duty in Iraq.

Saturday, the Hero's Welcome Home event will recognize their sacrifices and fighting for the very community to which they have returned.

"They just need to be welcomed home," said Carol Johnson, mother to Staff Sgt. Brian Johnson.

"Because of these soldiers, you and I can sleep at night," she said, adding that they protect U.S. citizens' freedoms.

"Without them, where would we be?"

Beginning at approximately 4:15

p. m., the soldiers, escorted by local law enforcement and the Patriot Guard Riders of Montana, will make their way from the Holiday Village Mall, along 1st Street, to Town Square. At 4:30 p.m., the roughly 60 soldiers who will be in Havre on drill, will be escorted by the riders, other veterans and Boy Scout Troop 1438 to the square.

Carol Johnson said that she hopes people turn out to line the street and wave flags to show their appreciation of the soldiers' efforts to keep America safe.

The soldiers, hailing from Havre, Kalispell and Libby, were based at the Victory Base Complex, also known as Camp Victory, in Baghdad. During their deployment, the unit members worked to supply other units with necessities such as water, food and fuel to keep American operations running smoothly.

A short ceremony, complete with the Boy Scouts leading the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance, speeches by local officials and a blessing of the troops, will commence before cookies and coffee are served.

More importantly than the size of the ceremony is the chance it provides for the community to recognize the soldiers, Johnson said.

For more information about the event or to find out where veterans are to meet, call 394-2287.


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