Last of National Guard soldiers return to Roseburg

Last of National Guard soldiers return to Roseburg »Play Video

ROSEBURG, Ore.  - The remaining soldiers from the Oregon National Guard's Charlie Company in Roseburg, finally made it home Friday, and were honored in a demobilization ceremony at Roseburg High School.

The ceremony was for both Charlie Headquarter and Bravo Companies from the First Battalion  186th Infantry National Guard Unit.

Friends, family and  local residents, packed Stewart Robertson Gymnasium at Roseburg High School to welcome home the troops who were deployed in Iraq for almost a year.

Several people spoke during the event to thank the soldiers for their service  and their sacrifice.

"These flags are yours, paid for by each of you, the flags are given to you as a band of brothers and in this band are both men and women soldiers,"  said County Commissioner Joe Laurance. "They band you as well to a greater band of brothers across other deserts and other wars across 235 years and 11 days since the Lexington battle and Concord Bridge."

About 15 members of Charlie Company were stranded overseas because of the eruption of the volcano in Iceland with restricted air travel.

Gov. Ted Kulongoski was on hand for the ceremony and says the welcoming home of the troops has been tremendous.

"When you see people turn out like this today, you realize that more and more citizens are understanding the sacrifice these soldiers make," said the Governor.

All of the returning soldiers will now have 90 days leave before they have to report back to duty.

The soldiers arrived in Roseburg escorted by the Patriot Riders  motorcycle group, and cheered on by hundreds of people on the streets of Roseburg. The streets were lined with supporters around town as they waited patiently for the 15 members of Charlie Company rode the bus into town as the solders who were left behind returned home, and for many members of the military, it was a sight they'd been waiting for for months.

"It's amazing, there's so much love in the community and so much support, and is good to know we were missed, and it's nice to know  you're missed when you're gone doing your Job, "  said PFC Kaleb Savage.

The Governor and local dignitaries welcomed the troops home  and encouraged them as they adjust to civilian life.