Time moved up for the return of Louisiana National Guard’s 1086th on Saturday in Bunkie
By Garland Forman
After almost a year away from home, the soldiers of the Louisiana National Guard’s 1086th Transportation Company will be returning Saturday.
The 163 Guardsmen were deployed as part of Operation Spartan Shield in Kuwait. During their nine-month stay in Kuwait, some members of the company worked in Syria and Jordan, but did not see combat.
“All 163 are returning home safely,” LNG Capt. Harry Anderson said in announcing the homecoming. “They will return home and get some needed rest and relaxation.”
Bunkie Fire Chief Joey Frank said the troops are expected back between 11 a.m. and 12 noon. It was set for 5:30 p.m. but the National Guard announced the change on Thursday afternoon. Fire trucks from Bunkie, Marksville and Mansura will be at Main Street and West Oak Street to welcome the soldiers back home.
“We want the public to come out and welcome these troops back home,” Frank said. “We would like everyone to gather at the Bunkie Depot next to the Veterans Memorial to show the troops how much we appreciate the service they have provided to our country.”
All of the troops will return to the Bunkie Armory, but no ceremony is scheduled there.
Some members of the unit will leave Bunkie to report to their home stations in Ville Platte and Vidalia.
Company commander Capt. Murphy Hall , of Ville Platte, said this was the first foreign deployment for more than 70 percent of the soldiers.
The unit has members from throughout Avoyelles Parish and the state.
The unit received additional training with the 120th Infantry Brigade at Fort Hood, Texas, from May 14-June 30, 2017 before being deployed to Kuwait for nine months.
The unit’s nickname is “Spartans.”
“I'm looking forward to this deployment and being there for my troops, taking them over there and bringing them back home,” Hall said at the time of deployment last year. “We live by ‘the sound of the 300’ like in the movie, but remember our motto ‘You can't move without us.’”
Avoyelles is still awaiting the return of another unit, the 1020th Engineering Company of Marksville, which was deployed as part of Spartan Shield in October and is expected to return in late summer or early fall.