March 11, 2009

1710th Transportation Company returns from Iraq

By Sgt. 1st Class A.J. Coyne
Virginia Guard Public Affairs

EMPORIA, Va. — After almost a year in Iraq, nearly 200 Soldiers from the Richmond-based 1710th Transportation Company returned to Virginia Feb. 27 and were greeted by the cheers and hugs of loved ones.

1710th returns from Iraq

Capt. Brett Layton, commander of the Virginia National Guard’s 1710th Transportation Company, receives a warm welcome home from a fellow Virginia National Guard Soldier at the Richmond International Airport when the unit arrived back in Virginia Feb. 27. The company provided medium lift truck transportation that moved critical supplies from logistical support areas out to different forward operating bases, traveling supply routes all through Iraq. (Photo by Maj. Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs) 

“It’s awesome being home,” said Sgt. Lemuel Mathias of Suffolk. “I’m really looking forward to relaxing.”

The 1710th headquarters is in Richmond, and the unit also has elements from Emporia and Gate City. Detachment 2 of the 1173rd Transportation Company from Onancock also deployed as part of the 1710th. In addition, U.S. Army Individual Ready Reserve Soldiers from all over the United States were also assigned to the unit.

The unit returned to the U.S. on Feb. 22 and spent several days at Camp Atterbury, Ind., before flying to Richmond on Feb. 27. The entire company was bused to Emporia, where a ‘welcome home” ceremony was held with flag-waving family and friends. After one final formation, the Soldiers were released to their families. Members of the Det. 2, 1173rd Trans. Co., were then bused to Onancock for another ceremony featuring friends and family. 

1710th returns from Iraq

Family members and friends welcome the Virginia National Guard's 1710th Transportation Company home Feb. 27 in Emporia, Va. The Soldiers of the 1710th were returning to Virginia after serving nearly a year in Iraq. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Capt. Brett Layton, commander of the 1710th, acknowledged it had been a long year and thanked family and friends for their support at the Emporia ceremony.

“I’m proudest of all the troops,” Layton said. “It was a huge success and we came back with all of our Soldiers.”

It was the second deployment for Mathias and he said he could see the change in Iraq.

“It was really quiet on this deployment,” he said. “You can see how the U.S. Army is making a change for the good there.”  

1710th returns home

Spc. LaVar Myrick is welcomed home from Iraq by his nephew, Ny (left) and son, Tre (right), in Emporia. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class A.J. Coyne, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs) 

While in Iraq, the 1710th was assigned to the 142nd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion from Fort Polk, La. The 142nd was part of the Fort Eustis-based 7th Support Brigade.

The unit provided medium lift transportation that moved critical supplies from logistical support areas out to different forward operating bases, traveling supply routes all through Iraq. The unit conducted more than 75 missions, traveled more than 900,000 miles and was evaluated as the best of nine companies in the battalion. The unit had no Soldiers wounded or killed in action.

The unit was organized with about 180 Soldiers in a headquarters section that provided administrative, maintenance and logistical support, and three truck platoons each equipped with 20 M915A3 tractor trucks and 40 flatbed trailers. The trailers are 40 feet long and can haul up to 64,000 pounds of cargo.

The 1710th conducted a departure ceremony in Emporia March 11, 2008 to recognize the start of their federal mobilization for duty in Iraq. They spent about six weeks training at Camp Atterbury before deploying to Iraq.

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