Gov. M. Jodi Rell announced this afternoon (Tuesday, Dec 22) that the first of two Connecticut Army National Guard units coming home for the holidays – 250th Engineer Company – was expected to arrive at Camp Rell in Niantic between 5:30 and 6:30 pm today. This unit has been training at a mobilization station in Wisconsin since November.
And as of this afternoon, the second unit – the 1st Battalion, 102nd Infantry – who have been training at a mobilization station in Indiana since November, is expected to arrive at the William A. O’Neill Armory in Hartford at approximately 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 23. (Due to uncertainty about Wednesday’s weather and traffic conditions, more exact arrival times can be obtained by calling Major Charles Jaworski at 860-883-3268, 4 hours prior to the buses’ arrival.)
Gov. Rell kicked off Operation Home for the Holidays in October to raise funds to provide bus transportation for the two units to travel to and from mobilization stations in Indiana and Wisconsin to Connecticut during a 10-day break in their training.
The two units, which have been training in Wisconsin and Indiana since November, are preparing for deployment overseas after the New Year.
More than $200,000 raised
Gov. Rell announced last week that fundraising efforts not only reached the goal of $200,000 but far exceeded it. The remaining funds will be used to provide other kinds of support to these soldiers and others who are already deployed.
“Thanks to the overwhelming generosity and the sincere acts of kindness on the part of Connecticut citizens and businesses, hundreds of Connecticut National Guard soldiers will get the best present they could ever imagine: being at home this holiday season with their family and friends before they are deployed on their mission overseas,” said Gov. Rell.
“When the troops arrive home Tuesday and Wednesday, there will be hundreds and hundreds of people from across the state – not just their families and friends – waiting with tears of joy in their eyes as they get off the buses. It is my honor and privilege to join their loved-ones in saying ‘glad your home for the holidays,’” Gov. Rell said.
Maj. Gen. Thaddeus J. Martin of the Connecticut National Guard added, “We are grateful to the Governor and to the many generous residents and organizations who contributed to this effort to bring Connecticut service members home to their families during this holiday season.”
The winter breaks run from Dec. 23 through Jan. 2 for the 1/102nd which will be deploying to Afghanistan, and Dec. 22-Jan. 2 for the 250th Engineers, which will be deploying to Iraq.
The 102nd Infantry is headquartered in New Haven with units located in Norwalk, Manchester, New Britain, Branford and Southington. The unit will deploy in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The 250th Engineer Company is located in New London, and will deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The Connecticut National Guard currently has nearly 500 soldiers and airmen mobilized and deployed to Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Soon after New Year’s Day, the units will return to their mobilization stations at Camp Atterbury, Indiana and Fort McCoy in Wisconsin before heading overseas.
Received and posted Dec. 22, 2009