LAKEWOOD, Ohio - Thousands of family members and friends packed the Lakewood Civic Auditorium Friday afternoon to welcome home approximately 180 members of the 112th Engineer Battalion of the Ohio National Guard.
The guardsmen flew into Hopkins Airport from Mississippi, where they had been undergoing decommissioning procedures during the past week.
After landing at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, a parade procession of buses carried the men and women of the 112th through Brook Park, Cleveland and Lakewood -- where many people lined the roadways waving flags.
The 112th recently completed a one-year tour of duty in eastern Afghanistan, where they served in a command, control and support role to Task Force Predator -- a unit of 750 specifically assigned to route clearance missions in the area.
According to Capt. Matt Molinski, during the 112th's tour, the task force conducted 2,142 route clearance missions -- clearing 134,609 kilometers of roadway. They were involved in 256 improvised explosive device (IED) finds, 95 IED strikes and over 470 hazardous explosive events.
All members of the Ohio 112th returned home safely, but eight soldiers from other states were killed in action during the deployment. Those soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice were remembered and prayed for during today's ceremonies.
According to Molinski the Ohio soldiers received 36 Bronze Star Medals, 31 Combat Action Badges and two Purple Heart Medals.