SANDSTON - Neither gloom of night or cold rain could stay the enthusiasm and exhilaration of the families nor their Soldiers as the 129th Field Artillery Detachment returned to Sandston following a year long deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Virginia Army National Guard Soldiers left their friends and families and placed their careers, educations, and personal pursuits on hold when they entered active federal service in September 2004. Following post mobilization training at Fort Sill, Okla. these Virginia Red Legs traveled to take up their mission as a target acquisition unit.
The 129th is a small unit and although there were only 16 Soldiers returning to Sandston, the thrill and excitement among the friends and family on hand at the Sandston armory was as strong as any at the largest homecomings and certainly the cheers that greeted the Soldiers as they got off the bus were as loud as any. These friends and families had waited over a year for this very moment on Dec. 3 when these Soldiers completed their mission and all returned home.
The commander, 1st Lt. Fred Moore, called his band of warriors for the final formation of this mission before the Soldiers were released to their families. During that formation Brig. Gen. Eugene Stockton, the Assistant Adjutant General, welcomed the Soldiers back to the Commonwealth, praised them for the accomplishment of their mission and then presented each of them with the Governor’s National Service Medal.
Click HERE to see photos from the unit's homecoming.