Welcome Home Ceremony Planned for Soldiers in Wichita

WICHITA, Kan. - Approximately 260 Kansas National Guardsmen of the 1st Battalion, 161st Field Artillery will be welcomed home from their deployment to Iraq during a ceremony on Saturday, Oct. 18.

The ceremony will take place at noon at Century II, 225 W. Douglas Ave., Wichita. The doors will open at 11 a.m. The public is invited to attend.

"These soldiers have fought hard for their country and it is great to have them back in Kansas," said Maj. Gen. Tod Bunting, the Adjutant General.

"Their bravery and sacrifice is to be commended along with the sacrifices their family, friends and employers have made in their absence."

The 1st Battalion, 161st Field Artillery, Kansas National Guard deployed in late November 2007 to Fort Bliss, Texas, for pre-mobilization training prior to going to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in January 2008. Their mission in Iraq included force protection and convoy escorts for combat logistics patrols.

They provided over 95,000 collective hours of perimeter security and conducted over 100 combat logistics patrols. The unit also conducted joint training with their Iraqi Army counterparts.

The unit consisted of soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, Wichita; Battery A, Dodge City; Battery C, Kingman; and the 1161st Forward Support Company, Hutchinson, as well as other units from around the state.

Last Friday, Oct. 10, approximately 130 Kansas Guardsmen with the 1161st Forward Support Company, Hutchinson, who served with the 1st Battalion, 161st Field Artillery in Iraq were welcomed home during a ceremony in Hutchinson.