Soldiers of the 613th return home

Story by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

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Maj. Jay Todd, a member of the Kentucky National Guard’s 613th Engineer Facilities Detachment, embraces his wife on April 12, 2013, at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky. Approximately 15 members of the unit were welcomed home after a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan. (Kentucky Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Phil Speck)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Approximately 15 members of the Kentucky National Guard’s 613th Engineer Facilities Detachment were honored in a welcome home ceremony April 12, 2013 at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky.

To see more photos from this event, click here.

A large turn out of friends, family and distinguished leaders of the Kentucky Guard welcomed the group with banners, flags, laughs and smiles, and a lot of food.

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Col. Steven King, commander of the Kentucky National Guard’s 613th Engineer Facilities Detachment, is welcomed home by his family on April 12, 2013, at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky. The unit was deployed to Afghanistan for nine months in support of the Global War on Terror. (Kentucky Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Phil Speck)

“It’s great to have him home,” said Stephanie Hilpp, wife of 2nd Lt. Charles Hilpp. “And it’s awesome that there is still this kind of support for the military. I think we have one of the biggest cheering sections here.”

During the nine-month deployment, the Soldiers of the 613th trained and advised the Afghan National Army Engineers and Afghan National Police Engineers on techniques for everyday maintenance and sustainment operations of the facilities and supporting infrastructure on their bases.  The troops oversaw the function of more than $9 billion in buildings, facilities and equipment while in Afghanistan.

“The biggest thing is that it is very gratifying to see the results,” said 2nd Lt. Hilpp. “When we left, the Afghans were really like family, you get to know them and trust them.”

The 613th assisted in the transition of more than 2800 facilities to the supervision of the Afghan National Security Forces. Kentucky’ adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini called the unit’s success ‘doing it the Kentucky way,’ referring to the great reputation of Kentucky Guardsmen deployed overseas and the ‘unbelievable mission’ success of the 613th. Tonini complimented the unit’s Family Readiness Group on their work to provide such a turn out for the small unit. Tonini and unit commander, Col. Steven King, both reminded the Soldiers of the importance of their families and the quality role they played in the success of the unit. Words Hilpp already knew and looks forward to reconnecting with his wife and four children.

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Members of the Kentucky National Guard’s 613th Engineer Facilities Detachment were welcomed home after a nine month deployment to Afghanistan on April 12, 2013, at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky. (Kentucky Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Phil Speck)

“It’s so awesome being home again,” he said. “Can’t wait to be a dad again, and a husband and everything else.”

Since September 11, 2001 more 16,000 Kentucky National Guard Soldiers and Airmen have deployed in support of the Global War on Terror.  The Kentucky
National Guard currently has more than 900 troops in Afghanistan, Africa, the Middle East and around the globe.

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