Welcome Home!

(LeMars) — People were lining the streets, waving American flags, holding banners, cheering and applauding and displaying their patriotic pride as the nearly 100 Iowa National Guard troops of the 113th Calvary, Troop C, were welcomed home to LeMars after their deployment to Afghanistan.

The two chartered buses, carrying the unit, were escorted into town by the roar of hundreds of motorcycles provided by the legion riders, police sirens provided by the Iowa Highway Patrol, Plymouth County Sheriff’s department, and the LeMars Police, and honking horns from area citizens. When the guard unit arrived at the LeMars Community football field, thousands were on hand applauding and welcoming home the troops.

Former 1st Sargent of C Troop, Doug Rogers served as the emcee to the ceremonies and officially greeted the returning soldiers.

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LeMars mayor, Dick Kirchoff, thanked the troops for their work and reminded the troops and their families of the sadness they shared nearly a year ago when the community had to say farewell to Troop C.

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During the ceremony, time was given to remember Staff Sargent, James “the Juice” Justice who died while being deployed in Afghanistan.   113 red, white and blue ballons filled with helium were tied to the railing, each with a personal message written on them honoring Justice.  His family was on hand and released the balloons.

Once the official ceremonies had concluded, there were kisses, hugs, and plenty of handshakes to go around as the troops re-united with their families and friends.

Specialist Josh Fischer of LeMars explains what life was like living in Afghanistan.

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Fischer says his first meal back home would include a steak with twice-baked potatoes and corn on the cob.  Fischer was greeted by his mother, brothers, and aunts and uncles.