CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia National Guard welcomed home 120 Soldiers from the 111th Engineer Brigade deployed to the Middle East since late February.
“We are so happy to have our Soldiers back into the arms of their families, especially right as the holiday season begins,” said Maj. Gen. Bill Crane, the adjutant general of West Virginia. “Deployments are always challenging, for those serving and those left behind on the home front. We are thrilled to have all our sons and daughters, husbands and wives, moms and dads, back home safe and with loved ones after a mission well done.”
The unit was headquartered at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, providing personnel and subject matter expertise for four named operations throughout the U.S. Central Command Area of Operations: Operation Spartan Shield, Operation Inherent Resolve, Operation Freedom Sentinel and Operation Allies Refuge.
The mission included time in Kuwait, Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Afghanistan, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Syria.
The 111th completed more than 500 missions and provided base hardening and force protection support to forward operating bases (FOBs), base camps and additional infrastructure sites.
Unit personnel also conducted multiple subject matter expert engineering training exchanges with allied nation partners. These included vertical engineer, design engineer, route clearance, survivability, and weapons of mass destruction operations.
Perhaps the most historically significant portion of the deployment came when the 111th supported the evacuation of thousands of vulnerable Afghans during Operation Allies Refuge.
The 111th designed and constructed “Freedom Village,” a holding and processing encampment that supported 5,000 Afghans in Kuwait with lodging, medical, dining and processing facilities.
The unit helped process more than 5,400 Afghans through the village, issuing special immigrant visas and providing command and control, medical, logistical and public affairs support.
“I could not be prouder of the successes of the 111th Engineer Brigade while deployed,” said Col. Robert Kincaid Jr., brigade commander. “Every Soldier played their role in accomplishing all our missions, and I will be forever grateful for their commitment and dedication."