More than 150 soldiers to be honored in Sparta - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

More than 150 soldiers to be honored in Sparta


More than 150 soldiers will be recognized on Jan. 12 for their sacrifice and service in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The ceremony will be at 11 a.m. at the Sparta National Guard Armory at 1803 N. Hillcrest Drive in Sparta.

Around 150 Illinois Army National Guard Soldiers with the 661st Engineer Company and seven Soldiers with the 662nd Engineer Fire Fighting Detachment will be recognized.

The 661st was mobilized in September 2011 and returned home Sept. 26, 2012. The 662nd was mobilized in February 2012 and arrived home Oct. 10, 2012.

The 661st worked in three different locations in Afghanistan. Soldiers helped build and repair roads, as well as site preparation for future buildings. They also conducted mine clearance operations and assisted in the construction of helicopter landing zones, entry control points, ammunition supply points and security points at several bases.

The unit completed 20 construction projects, according to the Illinois National Guard.

They also provided mine clearance support for more than 425,000 square meters and repaired 14 craters along Afghan highways. The soldiers trained more than 100 Afghan National Army Soldiers on various vertical, horizontal and maintenance tasks and assisted in the recovery of a crashed C-17 airplane.

The 662nd provided fire department emergency response services for Forward Operating Base (FOB) Wolverine and the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade. The mission included fire prevention and protection, structural and aircraft firefighting, rescue and emergency medical and decontamination of hazardous areas.

The 662nd responded to more than 30 calls during its deployment. The team also conducted fire inspections and fire drills throughout the FOB. Soldiers also taught fire extinguisher training to workers of the aircraft refueling point.

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