296th coming home

Published 5:00 am Friday, September 5, 2003

Members of the Army Reserve’s 296th Transportation Company willreturn home Saturday after nearly a year of service in Iraq.

The unit is expected to arrive at the armory near the airportbetween 10 a.m. and noon Saturday.

“I can’t give a definite time because I’m not sure when they’llarrive,” said MSgt. Mac McCurdy, unit administrator.

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The 296th will leave Fort Stewart, Ga., late tonight and arrivein buses at the armory.

Families and the public are invited to welcome home the troops,but a major homecoming celebration is not planned, McCurdysaid.

Some dignitaries have been invited and the unit is still tryingto contact others, but McCurdy was not sure if they would be giventhe opportunity to speak at the short homecoming. He preferred theywait until the later celebration.

A large homecoming celebration will probably be held within thenext 60 days, he said, but the unit wanted to give the troops timeto be with their families.

Soldiers of the 296th will remain on active duty for at least afew weeks after their arrival to take care of equipment andcomplete the transition from active duty unit to a reservecomponent.

“I don’t know what day they will be released from active duty,”McCurdy said.

He expected them to be on active duty for at least two weeks toa month.

Approximately 130 soldiers with the 296th left Brookhaven inOctober as part of a partial mobilization for Operation EnduringFreedom, the national war on terrorism overseas.

The unit transported more than 8,400,000 gallons of aviationfuel while supporting the war and recovery efforts in Iraq. The296th provides transportation support for movement of militarycargo, primarily bulk petroleum.

They were first deployed to Fort Stewart to prepare formobilization overseas, but war in Iraq had not yet been declaredand their role in future months was uncertain.