Kentucky troops, home for the holidays

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

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Sgt. Rugger Tincher of the 149th Vertical Construction Company greets his family during a welcome home ceremony for the unit in Lexington, Ky., Dec. 22, 2013. Tincher’s youngest son, Ryan, was born during the unit’s deployment to Afghanistan. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

LEXINGTON, Ky. — “This is probably the best gift we could ask for at Christmas,” said Sarah Tincher, wife of Sgt. Rugger Tincher, as she waited patiently outside Alltech Arena in Lexington, Ky. for her husband and father of two.

Just in time for the holidays, the Kentucky National Guard held a welcome home ceremony for the Soldiers of the 149th Vertical Construction Company at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky., Dec. 22, 2013.  The Soldiers are home from deployment after spending nearly a year in Afghanistan.

“We are all so excited to have daddy back home, especially for the holidays,” Sarah said with 3-year-old son Colton by her side and 6-month-old Ryan in her arms. The Tinchers said they are happy to begin getting used to their family of four during the holiday season.

To see more photos of the welcome home, click here.

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Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini, adjutant general for Kentucky speaks during a welcome home ceremony for the Soldiers of the 149th Vertical Construction Company at Alltech Arena in Lexington, Ky., Dec. 22, 2013. Tonini complimented the unit on a successful mission, calling combat engineers a “rare breed” of Soldier, but a group all of Kentucky is proud of. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

The combat engineers of the 149th from Cynthiana and Olive Hill, Ky., spent their time in Afghanistan doing what they do best, construction. But the unit was called upon for a variety of assignments to assist Active Duty units in theater.

“I couldn’t put into words our experiences in Afghanistan over the last 10 months,” commented Capt. Adam Evans, commander of the 149th VCC. “I can tell you though that there’s not enough time in the day to list all of our accomplishments. The only way to communicate what we acheived is to say that, I have absolutely commanded the finest Soldiers in the U.S. Military who stood up to every challenge we received.”

The Soldiers built tactical operation centers, medical facilities, dining facilities and living quarters for NATO troops. They performed more than 200 work orders for various forward operating bases throughout the country. The 149th was also asked to assist in the training of Afghan construction workers and conducted several convoy security missions.

Said Evans of the deployment, “One day we’ll all look back and marvel at the impact we had at helping to reshape a country such as Afghanistan.”

Since 9/11, nearly 16,000 Kentucky National Guard Soldiers and Airmen have mobilized in support of the Global War on Terror.

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