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Navy Cargo Handlers Return Sept. 11

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS040913-02
Release Date: 9/13/2004 10:29:00 AM

By Ensign Paul Pelletier, Naval Expeditionary Logistics Support Force Public Affairs

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Three Navy C-40 aircraft carrying more than 200 members of the Naval Expeditionary Logistics Support Force (NAVELSF) ALPHA returned home through the AMC Terminal in Norfolk, Va., Sept. 11, marking the end of an eight-month deployment to Iraq and Kuwait.

The Reservists, who were mobilized in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II, departed Jan. 5 and had the distinction of being the Navy's most forward deployed unit force. They deployed to Iraq and Kuwait to provide combat service support through logistics operations, which included cargo handling support, port operations, fuel distribution, postal operations and air cargo missions.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Reserve Affairs, H.C. "Barney" Barnum Jr., a Medal of Honor recipient, and Naval Reserve Forces Commander, Vice Adm. John Cotton, flew down from Washington D.C. to welcome the Reservists home along side Rear Adm. Robert Percy III, Naval Expeditionary Logistics Support Force commander. NAVELSF staff members and family members lined the red carpet to welcome them home, while a 17-piece Navy band played patriot music.

"You are helping to give freedom to a country (Iraq) that never had it before," said Cotton. "All of America and the entire world are proud of the job you have done."

Welcoming home the Reservists who have served so honorably is a great way to commemorate Sept. 11, Barnum said.

"I cannot think of a better way to remember this day (Sept. 11th)," he said. "You are heroes and you have done a phenomenal job."

The unit will be in Norfolk for the next few days before returning to their respective hometowns. NAVELSF Reservists are primarily from the Naval Supply Support Battalion 1, Phoenix, Ariz.; Naval Cargo Handling Battalion (NCHB 11), Jacksonville, Fla.; Naval Cargo Handling Battalion (NCHB 14) Port Hueneme, Calif.; and Naval Cargo Handling Battalion (NCHB 9) Columbus, Ohio.

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