'Freedom Salute' for Nat'l Guard soldiers

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SPRINGFIELD – Politicians, fellow soldiers, family and friends gathered to honor 13 Illinois National Guard soldiers in Springfield Saturday (March 5).

The event was part of the “Freedom Salute” campaign which honors National Guard soldiers and their families.

“It really does give not just the soldiers but the families that sense of closure that they need of ‘mission accomplished, we're home,’” said Maj. Matthew Dodsworth, the battalion’s officer in charge.

The soldiers were members of the 232d Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, which served in Afghanistan and returned home several weeks ago.

“The key task we had was the provision of sustainment or logistics: basically whatever the needs are for the troops over there, whether that be food, water, fuel, ammunition, maintenance of equipment, or repair parts,” Dodsworth explained.

The event included remarks from Brigadier General Michael Glisson, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, Illinois State Rep. Tim Butler and others. Each of the 13 soldiers was given an American flag and an honorary coin.

The thirteen soldiers are: Maj. Matthew Dodsworth, Cpt. David O’Neil, Cpt. Gerald Phillips, 1st Lt. Thomas Ferguson, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Deborah Kulp, Master Sgt. Tisha Timan, Master Sgt. Jeremy Deters, Master Sgt. William Lear, Sgt. 1st Class Aaron Brinegar, Sgt. 1st Class Lucas Jockisch, Sgt. 1st Class Alan Newhall, Staff Sgt. Heather Burch and Sgt. Jack Mason.

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