Guard unit honored for missions in Iraq, Kuwait

January 23, 2012 5:05:55 AM PST
A big thank-you party was held Sunday for a group of local soldiers with the Illinois Army National Guard.

They were recognized for their sacrifice and service while being deployed in Kuwait.

The troops of the 1244th Transportation Company conducted more than 200 dangerous convoy missions throughout Kuwait and Iraq and did it without experiencing any fatalities.

The ceremony took place at the North Riverside National Guard Armory.

Their mission included hauling cargo throughout Iraq and Kuwait for 10 months. It completed about 220 convoy missions totaling more than 3.8 million miles and moved approximately 170 million pounds of cargo.

"It feels great to be home," said Spc. Charity Liggins. "It is a bit overwhelming because you are going from one situation to another, but it is great to be home."

"It's like a second family," said Spc. Tonnisha Boling. "When you're over there, you are going through different issues. You are a family."

Mobilized in September 2010, the 1244th was the first unit from Illinois to deploy as a part of Operation New Dawn, which supported the withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Iraq.

"Very emotional to complete the mission over there," said 1st Sgt. Jeffrey Sima. ""(There's) a sense of pride and honor that we were able to help complete the mission over there."

The unit received several awards. A modest Sgt. Cintarire Coon got a Purple Heart.

"We just did out job and we all came home safe," she said.