BANGOR, Maine — Eighty-one members of the Maine Army National Guard’s 286th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion are scheduled to return home between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. today.
Guard officials in Augusta confirmed the return of the unit, which spent a little less than one year in southern Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. The unit was tasked to coordinate logistics in support of combat operations against al-Qaida and Taliban forces. Essentially, the 286th coordinated the dispersal of food, fuel, ammunition, equipment and other materials for thousands of combat troops in the region.
The unit was commanded by Lt. Col. Diana Dunn, of Glenburn, the first female to serve as the commanding officer of a Maine Army National Guard unit in Iraq or Afghanistan, and is composed of members from all over the state. Many of the same Guard members had deployed to Iraq in 2004.
A sendoff ceremony was held Jan. 25, 2009, at Bangor High School, before specialized training in Fort Hood, Texas, and the unit’s eventual deployment overseas. According to Capt. Shanon Cotta, spokesman for the Guard, the unit had no fatalities or serious injuries.
A homecoming ceremony will be held upon the 286th’s return to the Army Aviation Support Facility on Hayes Street in Bangor, adjacent to Bangor International Airport.