A Jefferson Barracks National Guard troop is back on U.S. soil after a 10-month mission in Afghanistan—all 165 of them, alive.
Soldiers from the 1138th Transportation Company landed at Fort Bliss, Texas, and are expected back in St. Louis May 5. The Missouri National Guard is planning a welcome home ceremony that day at First Free Church in Ballwin.
“I am so excited I can’t stand it,” said Michelle Moses in a Guard release. Moses, of Troy, is the wife of Spc. Daniel Moses. “I spoke to Daniel on the phone (Thursday) and happy tears came.”
The 165 soldiers went through two months of combat training before heading to Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan.
While serving overseas, they ran more than 90 convoy operations as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. The missions delivered more than $2.7 billion in supplies to bases across rough terrain for a total of 847,000 miles.
“The 1138th operated under harsh conditions providing convoy security in an area of Afghanistan heavily fortified with improvised explosive devices,” Missouri Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Terri L. Oswald said. “Their mission was intense, with convoy operations almost every day. Being on those roads was dangerous and daunting.”
More than a dozen soldiers in the unit earned acclamations, including the Bronze Star for unit commander Maj. Jamie Melchert.
“The best thing is that every soldier is coming home and that’s what we all pray for,” Oswald said. “To have every soldier come home alive is a testament to the leadership of Maj. Melchert and to his officers and noncommissioned officer corps.”