2014-07-02 / Front Page

Maine welcomes home guard unit

AUGUSTA (AP) — All of the Maine Army National Guard members who deployed to Afghanistan in August are back home.

About 1,000 family members and supporters welcomed more than 150 members of the 133rd Engineer Battalion back to U.S. soil at the Augusta Armory on Tuesday. Another 13 who deployed were greeted in a ceremony last week.

The combat engineers were responsible for winding down America's longest war, dismantling forward operating bases and transporting heavy equipment.

“Each and every one of these soldiers is a treasure and now they are all home,” Maj. Michael Steinbuchel, a National Guard spokesman, said.

The unit has been in the news because of speculation that it could be moved to Pennsylvania. No such move is imminent, guard officials said.

The battalion has more than 500 soldiers total. About 170 members returned from Afghanistan to Ford Dix, New Jersey, in June. Guard officials said the battalion is scheduled to deploy a company in December.

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