Commander: Families can be proud

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 20, 2003

ALEXANDRIA, La. &045; The family and friends of the 1086th Transportation Company have much to be proud of, Maj. Gen. Bennett Landreneau, commander of the Louisiana Army National Guard, said Wednesday.

On that morning, Landreneau and other Guard officials were on the tarmac to greet the unit’s soldiers as they disembarked after a stint of more than eight months as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

&uot;They did a tremendous job of accomplishing their mission,&uot; Landreneau said. &uot;They’ve received many accolades from the chain of command, and we’re proud of the work they did.&uot;

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The transportation unit provided logistical support during their more than 50 missions from the Kuwaiti base throughout Iraq.

In all, the soldiers covered more than 170,000 miles in Iraq itself, said 1st Lt. Daniel Mangun, leader of the unit’s Third Platoon.

&uot;It’s an important mission they did, and they did it in a professional and diligent manner,&uot; said Lt. Col. Thomas Beron of the 61st Troop Command, which includes the 1086th who, like Landreneau, was at the plane to greet the soldiers.

&uot;They were part-time citizen soldiers who went out there and performed like professional soldiers,&uot; Beron said.

That was done, the soldiers themselves said, despite sometimes life-threatening heat.

&uot;They had to endure tough environmental conditions in a combat zone,&uot; Landreneau said.

Mangun spoke highly of how the troops worked together to accomplish their tasks. &uot;Especially those from the Vidalia area. Being from a small town, everybody knew each other&uot; and came together well as a team, he said.

And the troops were heartened by the fact that, back home, the community was rallying behind them and their families.

&uot;I got the opportunity to visit them (overseas), and the tremendous outpouring of support meant so much to them &045; cards and letters from schoolchildren, letters, care packages,&uot; Landreneau said.

&uot;It’s so important for (soldiers) to understand that their families are being taken care of so they can focus on themselves and their fellow soldiers,&uot; he said. &uot;And it’s a great credit to the community and their families and employers.&uot;