A loud, cheering crowd waving placards welcomed home about 50 members of the Nevada Army National Guard’s 593rd Transportation Company on Friday after a 10½-month deployment to Afghanistan.
The company, which deployed 120 soldiers, became the first Nevada Army National Guard unit to serve in both Iraq and Afghanistan. With its headquarters at Camp Phoenix, seven miles from the center of Kabul, the 593rd conducted 235 logistics missions, traveled more than 100,000 miles and carried more than 10,000 pallets primarily in the capital district.
The final two days of deployment kept the soldiers busy, with two stops prior to Reno — Elko on Thursday night and Las Vegas on Friday morning.
Most of the soldiers who arrived in Reno represent communities from Reno and Carson to Fernley and Fallon.
Chief Warrant Officer 4 Chris Wolfe, who supervised the maintenance program, said he was happy to return to Northern Nevada. His weekend already was planned.
“I am looking forward to hiking and he fresh air,” he said. It was a welcome change from often-smoggy Kabul.
Wolfe, who grew up in Douglas County and now lives in Carson City, said he was proud of those soldiers who kept the trucks running.
“We never had a breakdown on mission outside the wire,” Wolfe said.
Wolfe said danger faced the numerous convoys that operated from Camp Phoenix into the Kabul region. In a November interview about his section’s mission, Wolfe said his soldiers checked out each mine-resistant ambush protected vehicle or truck and spent time re-examining the electrical systems.
The boisterous homecoming at the Reno airport made an impression on the younger troops, Wolfe said.
“It was the best thing in the world for them,” he said.