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Local soldier returning from Iraq

PULASKI — A local soldier will return home to Pulaski County this week.
After more than eight months in Iraq, Spec. Richard Reynolds Jr., 23, will return to his home in Pulaski County.
To welcome him back, his family and friends are invited to celebrate his return at Heritage Park, located on Dora Highway in Pulaski, on Saturday, July 26, at 3 p.m.
According to his stepmother, Debbie Rothausen, Reynolds has been gone since October, and his family has not seen him since this past Christmas, when he was able to come home for a week. For the majority of his time away, he has been stationed in Iraq.
“We’re just glad to see him return safe and unharmed,” said Rothausen. She noted that Reynolds’ mother, Linda Reynolds, would be traveling all the way from Tampa, Fla., for this weekend to welcome her son back to the U.S.
Reynolds is part of the 237th Engineer Company, which is a “sapper” unit of the Virginia National Guard, based in West Point, Va.
According to a press release from the Virginia National Guard’s website, there are approximately 105 soldiers in the 237th.
The soldiers landed safely at their demobilization station at Fort McCoy, Wis., on July 16 and will conduct a number of different administrative activities to transition from active duty back into traditional National Guard status prior to returning to Virginia.
As a sapper unit, the 237th Engineer Company is a unit of combat engineers who specialize in demolitions and light infantry tactics.
They are used to conduct breaching operations ahead of maneuver elements, leading the way for friendly forces to conduct offensive operations, according to the press release.
While serving in Iraq, the 237th Engineer Company was tasked to conduct route clearance missions. During route clearance operations, patrols search for improvised explosive devices along main and alternate supply routes for maneuver elements with their assigned areas, the press release states.
“Soldiers from the 237th Engineer Company were instrumental in spearheading the shaping and isolation operations within Sadr City during its peak in violence, and their efforts directly led to the peaceful resolutions of hostilities within Sadr City,” said 1st Lt. Jonathan York, an operations officer for the company.
The press release states that the 237th conducted route clearance operations throughout eastern Baghdad in support of the 82nd Airborne and the 4th Infantry divisions. During their time in eastern Baghdad, the unit successfully cleared more than 16,000 miles of routes, finding and clearing more than 60 IEDs and unexploded ordnances (UXO), of which many were the deadly explosively formed penetrators.
The 237th lost four soldiers during the mobilization and deployment.
A total of 93 soldiers from the 237th have earned, or have been nominated with official orders pending, the Combat Action Badge for directly engaging or being engaged by the enemy, the press release states, adding that soldiers from the 237th were awarded nine Bronze Star Medals, six Purple Hearts, one Meritorious Service Medal, one Army Commendation Medal with Valor, 79 Army Commendation Medals, 29 Army Achievement Medals and one Battlefield Promotion.
Additionally, soldiers from the unit have been recommended for two Bronze Star Medals with Valor Devices, 10 Army Commendation Medals with Valor Devices and six Army Commendation Medals.
The company has also been included in 1st Battalion, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment’s (SCR) nomination for a Presidential Unit Citation, the highest honor a military unit can receive, for actions in Sadr City and were included in the nomination of the 107th Engineer Battalion for a Meritorious Unit Citation for the outstanding, steadfast and faithful service as a route clearance element for Multi-National Division-Baghdad.

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Local soldier returning from Iraq

PULASKI — A local soldier will return home to Pulaski County this week.
After more than eight months in Iraq, Spec. Richard Reynolds Jr., 23, will return to his home in Pulaski County.
To welcome him back, his family and friends are invited to celebrate his return at Heritage Park, located on Dora Highway in Pulaski, on Saturday, July 26, at 3 p.m.
According to his stepmother, Debbie Rothausen, Reynolds has been gone since October, and his family has not seen him since this past Christmas, when he was able to come home for a week. For the majority of his time away, he has been stationed in Iraq.
“We’re just glad to see him return safe and unharmed,” said Rothausen. She noted that Reynolds’ mother, Linda Reynolds, would be traveling all the way from Tampa, Fla., for this weekend to welcome her son back to the U.S.
Reynolds is part of the 237th Engineer Company, which is a “sapper” unit of the Virginia National Guard, based in West Point, Va.
According to a press release from the Virginia National Guard’s website, there are approximately 105 soldiers in the 237th.
The soldiers landed safely at their demobilization station at Fort McCoy, Wis., on July 16 and will conduct a number of different administrative activities to transition from active duty back into traditional National Guard status prior to returning to Virginia.
As a sapper unit, the 237th Engineer Company is a unit of combat engineers who specialize in demolitions and light infantry tactics.
They are used to conduct breaching operations ahead of maneuver elements, leading the way for friendly forces to conduct offensive operations, according to the press release.
While serving in Iraq, the 237th Engineer Company was tasked to conduct route clearance missions. During route clearance operations, patrols search for improvised explosive devices along main and alternate supply routes for maneuver elements with their assigned areas, the press release states.
“Soldiers from the 237th Engineer Company were instrumental in spearheading the shaping and isolation operations within Sadr City during its peak in violence, and their efforts directly led to the peaceful resolutions of hostilities within Sadr City,” said 1st Lt. Jonathan York, an operations officer for the company.
The press release states that the 237th conducted route clearance operations throughout eastern Baghdad in support of the 82nd Airborne and the 4th Infantry divisions. During their time in eastern Baghdad, the unit successfully cleared more than 16,000 miles of routes, finding and clearing more than 60 IEDs and unexploded ordnances (UXO), of which many were the deadly explosively formed penetrators.
The 237th lost four soldiers during the mobilization and deployment.
A total of 93 soldiers from the 237th have earned, or have been nominated with official orders pending, the Combat Action Badge for directly engaging or being engaged by the enemy, the press release states, adding that soldiers from the 237th were awarded nine Bronze Star Medals, six Purple Hearts, one Meritorious Service Medal, one Army Commendation Medal with Valor, 79 Army Commendation Medals, 29 Army Achievement Medals and one Battlefield Promotion.
Additionally, soldiers from the unit have been recommended for two Bronze Star Medals with Valor Devices, 10 Army Commendation Medals with Valor Devices and six Army Commendation Medals.
The company has also been included in 1st Battalion, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment’s (SCR) nomination for a Presidential Unit Citation, the highest honor a military unit can receive, for actions in Sadr City and were included in the nomination of the 107th Engineer Battalion for a Meritorious Unit Citation for the outstanding, steadfast and faithful service as a route clearance element for Multi-National Division-Baghdad.

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