238th General Support Aviation Battalion returns from Afghanistan just in time for Christmas Print
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Written by Illinois National Guard Public Affairs Office   
Friday, 13 December 2013 11:51

Homecoming set for Dec. 14 for Peoria-based National Guard unit

PEORIA, IL (12/13/2013)(readMedia)-- Approximately 60 Illinois Army National Guard Soldiers who served in Afghanistan with 2nd Battalion of the 238th General Support Aviation Battalion in Peoria will return home tomorrow with a homecoming ceremony at 12 p.m., Dec. 14 at the Army Aviation Support Facility #3, 2323 S. Airport Road in Peoria.

The unit was mobilized in January and deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The aviation unit includes members from across Illinois.

While deployed, the 238th flew CH-47 Chinook helicopters for heavy helicopter air movement and air assault missions. It was also in charge of re-supply operations and aviation maintenance support. The unit moved personnel and cargo across the battlefield to decisive points at critical times.

The company flew more than 3,100 combat hours, moving more than 14,000 people and three million pounds of cargo during its rotation.

"I cannot speak highly enough of this company and its Soldiers," said Maj. Clarence Pulcher of Morton, Ill., commander of the 238th. "We executed all of our missions without fail and without a single serious accident."

Pulcher highlighted his maintenance section's performance after several of the unit's aircraft were damaged by a hailstorm in April, just weeks after the unit arrived in Afghanistan.

"It was a hailstorm of biblical proportion dropping anywhere from pea-sized to baseball-sized hail," Pulcher said. "Living most of my life in Southern Illinois, tornado alley, I have never seen anything like it."

Pulcher said his maintenance teams worked around the clock to get the Chinooks airborne within two weeks.

News media attending the event should arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the ceremony. For more information call the Public Affairs Office at 217-761-3569 or email us at ng.il.ilarng.list.staff-pao@mail.mil.

Media and others attending the ceremony should prepare for inclement weather and be flexible for any last minute time adjustments.