By Capt. Gus LaFontaine
Kentucky National Guard
The 2123rd Transportation Company, based in Richmond, was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation at its home station Sunday.
The commendation was awarded to the unit for valorous actions during their deployment to Afghanistan in 2010.
Brig. Gen. Stephen Hogan was on hand to present the award to the unit during its annual Christmas dinner.
“This is an incredible honor,” Hogan said. “The citation that was read really speaks for itself in terms of what you did over there in the field.”
Hogan then addressed some points of the unit’s service not mentioned in the citation.
He spoke of the difficult conditions the transportation company faced in Afghanistan, the proud history of the 2123rd, and the sacrifice involved in deploying in service of the Kentucky Army National Guard.
“Going back to 1922, (the 2123rd has been) available for every domestic episode, ice storm and flood,” he said. “Regardless, the 2123rd has been there.”
He also noted the unit’s deployment to Iraq in 2004.
“The result of your actions over there gave us equal footing and equal credibility with the active component who said that they would never second guess the National Guard again,” the general said. “In this you have shown them how Kentucky soldiers can fight.”
Capt. Nelson Anglin, commander of the 2123rd, sought to incorporate some of the same history into Sunday’s ceremony by inviting former members of the unit to the award presentation.
Anglin is charged with transitioning the unit from its past service in Afghanistan to training the unit for another deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, as the Afghan action is known.
He also highlighted the value of teaching the unit’s new soldiers about the 2123rd’s history and tradition.
“A lot of these new soldiers probably didn’t understand what some of these veterans experienced out there on the road in a combat environment,” Anglin said. “For them to be able to see some of the accolades that our unit received while we were deployed will help move our unit forward and help them understand what the training environment is going to be like over the next year.”
Anglin, who was a platoon leader with the 2123rd during its previous deployment to Afghanistan, spoke about the challenges and sacrifices the transportation company faced during its most recent deployment.
“We experienced a lot of convoys and a lot of time on the road. We had around 27 Purple Hearts and some combat valor awards with soldiers doing great things out on the road.”
In closing, Hogan praised unit members for the sacrifices they make to overcome the challenges they face at home as well as when deployed overseas.
“This citation does not speak to the service and the sacrifice that guardsmen and citizen soldiers live every day,” the general said. “You had to leave a job that was likely a great deal more comfortable, satisfying, and suffice to say normally nobody shoots at you when you do your civilian job. But more notably, you had to leave the comfort of your fireplace, your favorite chair and the love and affection of your families in the interest of your nation’s call.”
The general’s remarks sunk in with Anglin.
“To hear from a general and to see the award presented gives everyone an eye-opening experience to what we did in theater,” the company commander said.