Wednesday, March 15, 2006
City, Fort Irwin celebrate soldiers' return
Gov. Schwarzenegger expected to visit post on Friday to honor those who served in Iraq
By HOWARD DECKER Staff Writer
BARSTOW -- Gov. Ar nold Schwarzenegger is expected to personally welcome home members of Fort Irwin's 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, which recently returned from a one-year combat tour in Iraq.
The ceremony the governor is expected to attend will take place Friday at 3 p.m. at Ft. Irwin.
After welcoming home the 2,200 soldiers in a formal ceremony at Ft. Irwin, Schwarzenegger is scheduled to fly by helicopter to the Veterans Home of California, Barstow, for a visit.
However, Schwarzenegger is deeply involved in negotiations over a proposed $68 billion state infrastructure bond issue and has been canceling events this week in favor of spending his time in the negotiations, an aide to the governor said Tuesday. His visit to Barstow may be canceled, but it was too soon to tell, the aide said.
Then, on Saturday, at Robert A. Sessions SportsPark, the City of Barstow and the National Training Center at Ft. Irwin are inviting the public to show their support for the returning regiment.
"I could not think of a better way for our community to show our sincere appreciation for these great young Americans who have served each of us with distinction and honor in the battle against terrorism," said Barstow Mayor Lawrence Dale.
"I urge the people of the High Desert to turn out in force for this traditional military ceremony to show our support and gratitude to our troops for protecting our freedoms."
The ceremony will include a brief history of the regiment. There will also be remarks by Mayor Dale, Brigadier Gen. Robert W. Cone, commanding officer at the National Training Center at Ft. Irwin, and by Col. Pete Bayer, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment commander.
"We also plan to formally recognize several soldiers for acts of valor during their service in Iraq," Cone said.
Led by a four-horse color guard, nearly 450 soldiers of the 11th Ar mored Cavalry Regiment will march into the SportsPark singing cadence and carrying the regimental flags and banners.
The regiment's horse detachment, dressed in uniforms from the days of the American frontier, will bring the ceremony to a conclusion with a real cavalry charge. After the ceremony, the soldiers will mingle with the crowd.
Community members are encouraged to bring their own chairs and be in the SportsPark before the start of the ceremony.
The 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment is the famed "Black Horse" Regiment, which served for a year in some of the most dangerous areas of Iraq. Thirteen soldiers from the regiment were killed in Iraq.
The soldiers of the regiment will be participating through- out this week in numerous events related to the welcoming home ceremonies, including a motivational run, a "guide on" flag ceremony and a memorial ceremony at the Black Horse Chapel at Ft. Irwin to honor all those who gave their lives while serving in Iraq.
The SportsPark is located at 2800 Guadalupe Drive, south of Rimrock Road. The public event will begin at 10:30 a.m.
Strange the news media didn't cover any this at all, could it be some kind of news media bias?
2,200 soldiers, this was more than my graduating class at my high school. The news media declared Ahnold "persona no grada," in the past they would've reported this story in a heartbeat.
Saturday, March 18, 2006
Governor welcome troops home
2,200 soldiers return from duty in Iraq
By HOWARD DECKER / Staff Writer
FORT IRWIN — With regimental flags flying in a cool, stiff breeze, Gov. Ar nold Schwarzenegger Friday afternoon helped the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment welcome 2,200 of its soldiers back home from duty in Iraq.
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, left, shakes the hand of 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment Sgt. Don Teel at a ceremony welcoming the regiment back to Ft. Irwin after a one-year tour of duty in Iraq. Teel was one of a group of 13 soldiers with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment. He was awarded a Purple Heart medal.
While hundreds of the regiment’s soldiers, for mer soldiers, friends, family and children looked on, the governor shook the hands of 13 of the regiment’s soldiers who had suffered wounds while serving in Iraq and had been awarded the Purple Heart.
The “Black Horse” regiment soldiers, he said, “have done an incredible job (in Iraq). You have assisted the Iraqi national elections, trained and partnered with Iraqi army and police, rebuilt communities and conducted many critical combat operations.
“And on top of all that, your regiment maintained a force right here in the National Training Center and trained other soldiers as they prepared to be deployed overseas. So you were really given a huge challenge this past year, and you did it with great honor,” he said.
“Today I want to say from my heart, as governor, as a Californian, as an American and as an immigrant,” Schwarzenegger said. “I’m incredibly proud of all of you and what you have done for this great nation.”
He went on to say everyone in attendance, including former Black Horse Cavalry members, friends, spouses and children, constituted a “real gathering of heroes, for California, and for our nation. I’m talking about everyone here — all the soldiers who were deployed, the families who stood by the loved ones in uniform day in and day out.
“To all of you I say thank you for answering the call of duty,” the governor said.
Schwarzenegger arrived at the ceremony in a Black Hawk helicopter and watched as the pageantry of the welcome unfolded, including presentation of arms, uncasing of the colors, a salute by three cannons, an inspection of the troops by the commanding general and a recital of the regiment’s history.
Col. Peter Bayer, who was part of the contingent who served in Iraq, said the big review on the helipad is to say “fantastic job, welcome back home” to the soldiers. For him, he said, the sense of pride in the solders is “just overwhelming.”
Having the governor here, he said, “was a fantastic show of support for the only active duty Army unit stationed in California.”
Watching the ceremony were Rochelle Dumont and her husband, Capt. Dale Dumont, and their two children Justus, 5, and Isaah, 3.
Mrs. Dumont said her husband, who is in the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, has not been to Iraq but believes he could be sent there.
“He has not been in Iraq, but probably in time, he will,” she said. “If that’s what God wants, he will make a way for me to cope,” she said.
The regiment spent a year in Iraq before retur ning to their home base at Fort Irwin last
Earlier in the day, there was a ceremony in the Black Horse Chapel honoring the 13 members of the regiment who gave their lives while serving Iraq last year.