WEST COLUMBIA, SC — About 130 S.C. National Guard soldiers returned home on Wednesday to the Palmetto State following a year-long deployment to Afghanistan.
The soldiers, from Summervilles 1223rd Engineer Company, were welcomed by family and friends at Eagle Aviation in West Columbia. They have spent the past year helping tear down 15 bases used during the war in Afghanistan as American involvement in that conflict comes to an end.
The soldiers never missed a deadline and completed their projects on average 10 days ahead of the deadline, on average, according to the Guard. The unit was awarded six Combat Action Badges and 17 Bronze Stars during the deployment.
More than 18,000 S.C. citizen-soldiers have been deployed since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. More than 250 still are deployed to Afghanistan. More than 60 others are in Kuwait. Sixteen S.C. National Guard members have lost their lives serving overseas since 9/11.
-- Photos and video by Tracy Glantz