Parade For The 623rd Soldiers

By: Tamara Evans
By: Tamara Evans

On Christmas Eve, nearly 180 Kentucky families welcomed home their soldiers from a yearlong deployment to Iraq.

This weekend, the soldiers were honored by the community with a parade in Tompkinsville.

"We're just excited and want to show them how happy we are to have them home and how proud we are of them", says Vicki Gearlds, mother of a 623rd soldier.

According to the soldiers, they say they are thankful to be back home and appreciate all the support the community has given them in the last year.

"It's very humbling. I'm used to doing things for other people and now someone's doing things for us, so the roles have changed and it's been difficult to swallow", says 623rd soldier Bryan Ploughe.

"We took 179 soldiers with us into Iraq and had one casualty, so we were very successful. Of course, losing one soldier isn't tolerable to our standards, but we're thankful we got out like we did", says 623rd Commander John Holmes.

The 623rd soldier lost one of their soldiers, 21-year-old Eric Lee Toth back in March. A memorial ceremony will be held on Sunday, January 8th for Sergeant Toth at 2:30 at the Tompkinsville National Guard Armory. Toth was killed in Iraq when the humvee he was riding in ran over a car bomb and exploded.

The remaining members of the 623rd will be home in nearly a week. Units from Monticello and Campbellsville will arrive at Fort Dix, New Jersey on January 15th and will be back in Kentucky almost five days later. More details will be coming soon about the welcome ceremony.

This will be combined members from the Battery B and Battery C First Battalion 623rd Field Artillery Unit.


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