4:57 PM EST, December 3, 2011
Family and friends welcomed home 150 members of the 131st Transportation Company of the Pennsylvania National Guard Saturday, after a year-long deployment in Afghanistan. The unit is based in Williamstown in North Dauphin County.
Spc. Lori Ahner and her husband, Staff Sgt. Dennis Palmer were greeted by Ahner's daughter and three granddaughters.
"This is my family, they've been with me, thick and thin all the way, and they've sacrificed a lot as well as we did," Ahner said.
Lt. Jason Chapman arrived at the Williamstown Readiness Center to find seven of his 12 siblings, his parents and stepmother and his wife Angel, who is pregnant with the couple's first child. Chapman said it was difficult being away from home, but he is proud to serve his country.
"It's been a long year, we set out, we had a job to do and we did it," he said.
The company provided security for supply convoys across Afghanistan.
While in Afghanistan, the 131st lost three members in a roadside bomb attack. Sgt. Edward Koehler, 47, of Lebanon, Sgt. Brian Mowery, 49, of Halifax, and Staff Sgt. Kenneth VanGiesen, 30, of Kane were killed. All three will be posthumously awarded the Purple Heart. Five others were wounded in that attack.
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