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“Citizen Soldiers” honored upon their return home

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SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill., (USTCNS) --- Army Reserve Soldiers were honored for their service in Afghanistan and Iraq by being presented with the Welcome Home Warrior Citizen Award in a ceremony here on Sunday, October 23.

The WHWCA is a new Soldier recognition program enacted by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Bush.

In his remarks, the guest speaker, Maj. Gen George Read, Commander, U.S. Army Reserve Readiness Command, Ft. Jackson, S.C., explained that the WHWCA program is, in part, a reaction to the negative experiences of U.S. servicemen returning home from Vietnam a generation earlier.

The ceremony, hosted by the Army Reserve Element of U.S. Transportation Command’s Joint Transportation Reserve Unit, recognized the service of five of its Soldiers; Lt Col Mark Barnes of University City, Mo., Lt Col Janice Ott from Lawrence Kan., Maj. Keith Lostroh from Waterloo, Iowa, Maj. Douglas Sharp from St. Charles, Mo., and Maj. Jerry McCool and Sgt 1st Class Gerard Martin, both from Collinsville, Ill.

Also honored at the ceremony were Soldiers from two Belleville, Ill., reserve units; Maj. Timothy Horton with the 458th Transportation Detachment, and Sgt Billy Goll, with the 915th Transportation Company.

In addition to receiving several commemorative mementos, including an American flag in a presentation case, as part of the ceremony, each Soldier was given a specially designed coin that was presented to them by Read.

Guests included Gen. Norton Schwartz, Commander, USTRANSCOM and his wife, Suzie; Maj. Gen. James P. Czekanski, Director, USTRANSCOM Reserve Component Directorate; Brig. Gen. Paul Selva, Director, USTRANSCOM Operations, Col David Goetsch, Commander, USTRANSCOM ARE; Col. Limuel Hunter, Deputy Commander, U.S. Army Human Resource Command, St. Louis, and Command Sgt Major Wilbert Thompson, HRC-St. Louis; Command Sgt. Major Posey Grier, USARRC, as well as the families of the honorees.

Six members of the 451st Army Band, Ft. Snelling, Minn, provided music for the event, while the national anthem was sung by Army Reserve Element member and Desert Storm veteran Sgt. Tammy Burton.

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