Mississippi Guard unit home from Afghanistan

By The Associated Press

LUCEDALE — A Mississippi Army National Guard unit has been welcomed home from Afghanistan.

The 287th Engineer Company marched into the Lucedale City Park on Saturday for a homecoming celebration after a tour that included a 10-month deployment in Afghanistan. The 130-member unit cleared improvised explosive devices and other bombs from roadways in Afghanistan’s eastern province, Paktika

Capt. Marty Davis, the unit’s commander, praised the soldiers’ performance “in one of the most dangerous regions on the planet.”

“I’ve never been prouder. I’ve never been more proud of my county, my state, my soldiers,” Davis said.

The homecoming, called “Hog Wild” because of a donated 300-pound whole hog, was attended by about 1,200 people, said Lucedale Mayor Doug Lee.

Spc. Logan Hathorne of Petal attended the celebration in a wheelchair. He said he was injured when a remote-controlled IED was detonated under his vehicle.

“It hit my truck pretty hard,” he told The Mississippi Press.

Hathorne is continuing to be treated for injuries to his back and right leg.

Maj. Gen. William Freeman, state adjutant general, said about 350 Mississippi Guardsmen remain deployed, but by year’s end 1,800 are expected to be in Iraq and Afghanistan.