Originally created 06/03/04

Soldiers of Guard to return this week



Another group of an Augusta-based National Guard unit will be coming home to Georgia this week, officials said Wednesday.

About 300 members of the 878th Engineer Battalion of the Georgia Army National Guard are scheduled to arrive on Georgia soil Friday, according to the Georgia Department of Defense.

Buddy Lockhart, of the 878th Family Readiness Group, said the soldiers will fly into Hunter Army Air Field in Savannah before being transported to Fort Stewart.

Mr. Lockhart said a brief homecoming ceremony will be held at Fort Stewart's Newman Gym at 3 p.m. Friday.

He said the soldiers will remain at Fort Stewart for about seven days for "outprocessing," an administrative process for guardsmen returning home.

A group of about 100 878th soldiers returned home last month.

Mr. Lockhart said about 50 soldiers will remain abroad to prepare the battalion's construction machinery for shipment back to the United States.

The battalion, which did not suffer a combat-related injury or fatality during the war, helped build water lines, repair schools and hospitals, and fix major highways from Baghdad to Kuwait, Mr. Lockhart said.

The battalion, which is based in Augusta, also has guardsmen based in Metter, Lyons, Swainsboro and Sandersville.

Reach Jeremy Craig at (706) 823-3409 or jeremy.craig@augustachronicle.com.