Reservists come home

Battalion provided supplies to troops

Sgt. Carol Hodges, center, of Shawnee, hugs her husband, Willie, as her sister, Christine Thomas, of St. Louis, waits her turn. Carol Hodges was one of 16 area reservists who returned to Lawrence on Friday after a tour in Kuwait.

A white school bus rolled into the U.S. Army Reserve Center on Iowa Street on Friday afternoon, and the 16 Lawrence-based reservists inside waved to about 50 friends and family members awaiting them.

The contingent outside from Lawrence and northeast Kansas began to clap. A few screamed with jubilation.

The reservists with the 317th Quartermaster Battalion returned after spending about a year in Kuwait. They provided logistical support to aid with Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“With 14-hour shifts and the 150-degree temperatures, every day was a challenge,” said Sgt. 1st Class James Turner, who lives at Fort Leavenworth and is originally from Florida.

The 16 who returned Friday to the area served with a unit of 56 to provide supplies for as many as 20,000 troops, said Sgt. 1st Class Carol Hodges, of Shawnee.

“I’m proud of our unit. Everyone was a good soldier. We completed our mission,” she said.

Hodges, who also served in Operation Desert Storm, received a warm welcome from her sister, Christine Thomas, of St. Louis, who moved to Shawnee to look after Hodges’ children, Rodney, 11, and Raven, 8.

Sgt. Mickey Argumedo, of Lawrence, hugs his friend, KU student Trisha Shrum, an Olathe senior, after arriving at the U.S. Army Reserve Center, 2100 Iowa, after a tour in Kuwait.

Staff Sgt. Michael Argumedo, of Lawrence, was part of the unit that returned Friday after spending a few days at Fort Riley.

Soon after the troops hugged loved ones and friends, the unit marched into a welcome ceremony. Those in attendance included state Rep. Barbara Ballard, Lawrence Mayor Boog Highberger and Maj. Gen. Rita Broadway, of the U.S. Army Reserve’s 89th Regional Readiness Command in Wichita.

“We were successful, and we did what we had to do,” said Turner, who plans to spend time with his family for now.

“I’m just happy to see my kids,” Hodges said. “I think it was hard on them. It was hard on me not seeing them.”