Illinois’ 108th Sustainment Brigade Returns from Deployment
CHICAGO –-(ENEWSPF)–October 26, 2014. Governor Pat Quinn yesterday welcomed home more than 200 Illinois Army National Guard soldiers who served in Kuwait. The soldiers are all members of the 108th Sustainment Brigade, and were deployed overseas for approximately 10 months. Homecoming ceremonies for the brigade were held today in Bridgeview and Springfield.
“I’m proud to welcome home the heroes of the 108th Brigade and thank them for serving our country and protecting our freedoms,” Governor Quinn said. “It’s important that we take care of those who have borne that battle and this celebration is a small thank you to our state’s veterans and their families. While we could never repay them for their sacrifice, we thank each of our National Guardsmen for their service to our great nation. Welcome home.”
The 108th includes soldiers from throughout Illinois, with a large concentration from Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. The soldiers trained for a brief time at Fort Hood, Texas before deploying overseas. In preparation for the deployment, the unit participated in training exercises at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and the Illinois National Guard’s Marseilles Training Center.
The 108th Sustainment Brigade, led by Col. Drew Dukett of Roodhouse and Command Sgt. Maj. John Burns of Benld, deployed to Kuwait in January. Most were headquartered at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, while several soldiers served in other locations throughout the region. The 108th provided mission command and logistical support operations for servicemembers and civilians in Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq, and assisted with humanitarian aid in Iraq.
The 108th Special Troops Battalion, led by Lt. Col. Ron A. Jeanblanc of Athens, was deployed as part of the brigade and provided all internal support and medical operations within the brigade. The battalion also oversaw more than $600 million in financial transactions and conducted more than 220 financial missions throughout the Middle East. They also established the first Army Post Office in Iraq since 2011 and coordinated the transport of more than seven million tons of cargo across 75,000 nautical miles.
Governor Quinn is committed to honoring and supporting the men and women who have served our nation, and supporting the mission of the Illinois National Guard. His efforts include signing a law to create the Veterans Cash lottery ticket to be sold year round with 100 percent of proceeds supporting Illinois veterans. In 2011, Governor Quinn launched the Welcome Home Heroes program to support Illinois servicemembers seeking homeownership. Since that time more than 1,500 Illinois veterans, active military personnel, reservists and Illinois National Guard members have accessed more than $170 million to buy their homes.