WASHINGTON, DC- U.S. Senators Bob Casey and Arlen Specter today introduced a resolution to commend the performance of the 56th Stryker Brigade who in September returned home from a nine month tour in Iraq.
“Next week our nation will celebrate Veterans Day – a day to acknowledge the sacrifices made by all those who have worn our nation’s uniform and sacrifice in the name of honor and for the love of country. Pennsylvania’s 56th Stryker Brigade continued this tradition with a successful deployment to Iraq,” said Senator Casey. “For these reasons, I am proud to introduce a Senate resolution recognizing their contributions, valor and honor to our nation, and I know that the people of Pennsylvania and the nation thank them for their service.”
“I applaud the members of the 56th Stryker Brigade for their honorable service to our nation while deployed in Iraq,” said Senator Specter. “This Senate resolution is a small token of gratitude for the sacrifices the members have made to keep our nation safe, and I know that our commitment to the soldiers and their families has just begun.”
The 56th Stryker Brigade was deployed to Camp Taji, Iraq for nine months. Also known as the Independence Brigade, they worked side-by-side with their Iraqi counterparts to continue to bring stability and security to the Iraqi people.
On the front lines, they patrolled neighborhoods, targeted insurgents and swept for improvised explosion devices (IEDs). They performed more than 800 combined operations, captured seven brigade-level high valued targets and discovered more than 80 enemy weapon caches.
Two members of the 56th were killed in action. Specialist Chad Edmundson of Williamsburg was killed by an IED and Staff Sergeant Mark Baum of Quakertown was killed by enemy small arms fire.
Full text of the resolution is below.
Commending the service of the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard.
Whereas the members of the Army National Guard and Air National Guard of the State of Pennsylvania reside throughout the State and come from a number of different backgrounds, professions, and communities;
Whereas members and units of the Pennsylvania National Guard have been deployed in support of United States military operations at home and in Iraq, Afghanistan, and dozens of other countries;
Whereas one such unit, the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, is composed of approximately 4,000 citizen-soldiers from throughout the State of Pennsylvania;
Whereas the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team is the only National Guard Stryker Brigade serving in the United States Army;
Whereas the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, following mobilization and deployment to Kosovo in 2003, was placed on Federal active duty for a second overseas mobilization on September 19, 2008, and deployed to Iraq on January 15, 2009;
Whereas during the deployment of the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team in Taji, Iraq, the brigade was primarily engaged in convoy security, force protection, provincial reconstruction, and base operations missions;
Whereas the members of the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team performed more than 800 combined operations, captured 7 brigade-level high-value targets, and discovered more than 80 enemy weapon caches; and
Whereas in September 2009, upon completion of 1 year of service in support of military operations in Iraq, the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team returned to the United States and demobilized:
Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Senate –
expresses its gratitude to the members of the Army National Guard and Air National Guard of the State of Pennsylvania and their families for their service and sacrifice on behalf of the United States;
commends the members of the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard on the completion of their deployment to Iraq;
recognizes the achievements of the members of the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, as well as all other formerly and presently deployed Pennsylvania Army National Guard and Air National Guard units and members, for their exemplary service;
and offers its condolences to the family and friends of Specialist Chad Edmundson of Williamsburg, Pennsylvania, and Staff Sergeant Mark Baum of Quakertown, Pennsylvania, who died in service to their country.
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