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Guardsmen recognized for service in Iraq

Spc. Errol Holcomb and his wife, LaRee, look over items presented to him at Saturday’s ceremony while their son, Noah, 5, takes a peek. - Photo by Sean Janssen
Spc. Errol Holcomb and his wife, LaRee, look over items presented to him at Saturday’s ceremony while their son, Noah, 5, takes a peek.
— image credit: Photo by Sean Janssen

After arriving in Iraq more than a year ago, 67 Bremerton-based National Guard soldiers are now home and being recognized for their service.

Washington Army National Guard members from Bravo Company of the 1st Battalion, 303rd Armor of the 81st Brigade Combat Team were recognized Saturday morning in a ceremony at the Bremerton Readiness Center, the company’s home armory.

Dignitaries present for the ceremony included U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Seattle), Maj. Gen. Timothy Lowenberg, Adjutant General of the State of Washington and Kitsap County Sheriff Steve Boyer.

Murray was first to address the troops, thanking them and their families.

“Your sacrifices will never be forgotten and never be taken for granted,” Murray said. “I think we often forget the sacrifices the families make while our soldiers are gone ... (but) they are appreciated.”

Murray also expressed concern about ensuring there is adequate support for soldiers re-entering civilian life.

“I believe how we treat our Guard and Reserve soldiers when they come home is an indicator of the character of our nation,” she said.

While on duty, the 303rd was responsible for providing security for Camp Victory South in Baghdad, just outside the city’s international airport, including the Al Faw Palace, once used by deposed Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.

Their task was particularly important as military brass from the multinational force in the country held meetings and came and went from the facility each day.

A slideshow midway through the ceremony showed photographs of the men and women of the 303rd, riding Humvees through the desert and interacting with each other and Iraqi citizens.

The smiling faces of Iraqis happy to have them

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