Rep. Yoder welcomes home Gardner troops from Afghanistan
7th Battalion 158th Aviation Brigade based out of New Century Air Center
Washington, DC -- Congressman Kevin Yoder issued the following statement to welcome home members of the 7th Battalion 158th Aviation Brigade from their deployment in Afghanistan over the past year. The troops arrived back in Gardner today at New Century Air Center where the group is based.
"A little more than a year ago, my wife Brooke and I attended the deployment ceremony as the unit prepared for duty in Afghanistan. The troops departed, leaving behind their friends and family. While deployed, the brave soldiers of the 158th Aviation Brigade were regularly called upon to support mission-critical combat operations, exhibiting professionalism and technical expertise of the highest caliber, often completing the missions under extremely difficult circumstances.
Tragedy struck last August while these troops were supporting special-forces combat operations. I was deeply saddened to learn that Specialist Spencer Duncan, Chief Warrant Officer Brian Nichols and Sergeant Alex Bennett were killed in action, along with 27 others that included U.S. Navy SEALS, special operation soldiers and Afghan nationals. I am so happy to welcome these brave soldiers home after more than a year. As the unit is reunited with their friends and loved ones, it is now more important than ever to reassure these soldiers that their service and the sacrifice of their fallen comrades will not be forgotten.
As a Member of Congress, I recognize the significance of decisions that place our service members in harm's way. I consider it my greatest duty to ensure that we do everything in our power to honor their service, their sacrifice, and the sacrifices of their families--especially during the difficult times when our nation is dependent on the brave members of our armed forces to ensure our safety. For their willingness to serve, their dedication to duty, their desire to forward our traditions of liberty and freedom and for the sacrifices of all, we as a nation owe a debt of gratitude to our service members that simply cannot be repaid."