Welcome home!

The crowd begins to gather in front of St. Clair Hall
Columbia College welcomes home the 175th Military Police Battalion

Members of the Missouri National Guard welcomed home the Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 175th Military Police Battalion on Saturday, Aug. 25, in a ceremony that was held at Columbia College, the same location where a departure ceremony was held for the battalion in September 2011.

Countless friends and family turned out for the welcoming party. Many attendees held handmade signs expressing their excitement; others wiped away tears of joy upon seeing their sons and daughters for the first time in months. The troops arrived in four large buses that were preceded by police escorts and the Patriot Guard Riders who joined the buses on I-70 near Kingdom City. Everyone in attendance stood up at the first sight of the Patriot Guard Riders and the buses. A drum-line welcomed the soldiers as they got off the buses.

message in car window - Welcome Home, Brother
Columbia College President, Gerald Brouder was present to share his appreciation for the troops.

“Today is a day for us the honor these brave men and women and thank God that they have all returned home safely. We salute you and your families.” Brouder said.

Representatives of Senators Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill were present to commend the troops for their bravery. Missouri governor Jay Nixon was unable to attend the ceremony in Columbia. Nixon, however, was able to make an appearance at the Jefferson Barracks Military Post in St. Louis when soldiers arrived there earlier in the day. Missouri National Guard Major General Stephen L. Danner spoke on Nixon’s behalf. Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer attended the homecoming and expressed his gratitude for the troops and their families.

message in car window - Welcome Home, Brother
“I just want to say thank you to each and every one of you here today and for the sacrifices that you’ve made,” Luetkemeyer said. “You are very special people and serve as an inspiration to us. You have made us proud.”

See more photos taken at the homecoming event.