Pa. Guard unit honored for service in Iraq

Members of the National Guard's Charlie Company of the 103d Engineer Battalion are honored at Fort Mifflin. They received a Meritorious Unit Commendation for their service in Iraq. Article and more photos, B4.
Members of the National Guard's Charlie Company of the 103d Engineer Battalion are honored at Fort Mifflin. They received a Meritorious Unit Commendation for their service in Iraq. Article and more photos, B4. (APRIL SAUL / Staff Photographer)
Posted: March 12, 2012

A Pennsylvania Army National Guard unit that spent almost a year in combat in Iraq was honored Sunday with the presentation of a Meritorious Unit Commendation.

Several dozen members of Charlie Company of the 103d Engineer Battalion, based at an armory in West Philadelphia, turned out for the award ceremony at Fort Mifflin on the Delaware, site of a 1777 battle in the Revolutionary War.

Assigned to Forward Operating Base Summerall, near Beiji, Iraq, in 2004 and 2005, Charlie Company engineers were charged with protecting the main supply routes of north-central Iraq from terrorist bomb attacks. They went out daily in armored humvees, looking for bombs buried along roads and hidden under bridges.

Ten men received Purple Hearts for combat wounds.

Capt. Michael Meads, who commanded the unit, said their job was to "hunt for bombs," not "run away from them." He said they conducted "several hundred missions, seven days a week, for almost 11 months."

The company served with Task Force Dragoon, which included the first large contingent of Pennsylvania Guard units to serve in combat since World War II.

"Our country will be forever in your debt for what you did," Brig. Gen. John L. Gronski, assistant state adjutant general, told the men.


Contact Tom Infield at 610-313-8205, tinfield@phillynews.com, or @tinfield on Twitter.

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