243rd Engineer Haul Team Freedom Salute
(Cumberland, Md. Feb 5, 2012) The Maryland National Guard had a formal Freedom Salute ceremony today in Cumberland, Md., to officially welcome home 13 members of an Engineering unit after their year long deployment to Djibouti.
Soldiers from the 243rd Engineer Haul Team were mobilized in October 2010, and deployed to the Horn of Africa for a humanitarian mission to drill water wells attached to Navy Mobile Construction Battalion 74 and 5.
“Our mission changed, from drilling wells to vertical and horizontal construction and we were successful at every request by the Navy Seabees,” said Lt. Jonathan Mendoza, commanding officer for the Haul Team. “I am extremely proud of all that we were able to accomplish and I would deploy anywhere with theses Soldiers.”
The 243rd performed carpentry, electrical, welding and heavy equipment tasks. The team completed construction work on a five classroom school, cleared and prepared a beach landing zone, built a 400,000 square foot staging area for the Marine Expeditionary Unit, reconditioned a 200,000 square foot demolition range for the French military and constructed 15 tent pads for Air Force personnel as well as a storage pavilion for the Navy yard.
The Freedom Salute Campaign is one of the largest Army National Guard welcome home endeavors in history. It is an event designed to publicly recognize the sacrifice of Army Guard Soldiers as well as those who’ve supported them during their deployment.
“Not only do I want to thank the Soldiers for doing their part, I would like to thank the families, for their support,” said Maj. Gen. James A. Adkins, the adjutant general of Maryland. “Without your support our Soldiers would not be able to do what they do, and defend our freedom.”
Refreshments for the ceremony were provided by the local VFW Henry Hart Post 1411 and the Ladies Auxiliary.