Philadelphia to celebrate troops at home

By The Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — The city of Philadelphia will officially welcome home Saturday members of the National Guard’s 298th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion.

The Neshoba Democrat reports that the unit returned home in January after serving a year in Afghanistan but this is the first time the community has had a chance to celebrate.

The program is sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign War Posts in Philadelphia and DeKalb. It will begin at 12:30 p.m. at the VFW hut on Mississippi Highway 16 east.

Philadelphia Mayor James A. Young will give the invocation and welcome the unit home officially.

Other speakers to include Lt. Col. Lynn Pippen, commander of the 298th, and Brig. Gen. Philip R. Fisher, commander of the 184th Sustainment Command in Laurel.

The 298th did not return home as a group after arriving at Fort Hood, Texas, on Jan. 15 for demobilization. As each Guardsman completed the process, they were furnished an airline ticket home.

The 298th also served in Iraq from February 2004 to January 2005.

The 367th Maintenance Co., based in Philadelphia, also served in Iraq.

In May 2004, Sgt. Joshua Shane Ladd, 20, of that unit was killed near Mosul when hostile forces ambushed his convoy and a rocket-propelled grenade struck his vehicle.

In August 2004, Second Lt. Matthew Ryan Stovall, 25, also of the 367th, was killed in Iraq when a roadside bomb exploded near his convoy.