Soldiers from 1710th Trans. Co. return to Virginia from duty in Afghanistan

Virginia National Guard Soldiers from the Emporia-based 1710th Transportation Company reunite with family, friends and fellow Guard Soldiers Feb. 22, 2014, in Richmond after serving on federal active duty in Afghanistan since June 2013.  (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

Virginia National Guard Soldiers from the Emporia-based 1710th Transportation Company reunite with family, friends and fellow Guard Soldiers Feb. 22, 2014, in Richmond after serving on federal active duty in Afghanistan since June 2013. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

SANDSTON, Va. — Virginia National Guard Soldiers from the Emporia-based 1710th Transportation Company reunite with family, friends and fellow Guard Soldiers Feb. 22, 2014, in Richmond after serving on federal active duty in Afghanistan since June 2013. The company returned to the United States Feb. 15, and approximately 145 Soldiers returned to airports closest to their home of record. A formal ceremony recognizing their service will take place in about 90 days. The 1710th began serving on federal active duty on April 1, 2013.

“It was a long and rewarding deployment,” said Capt. Rodney Rhodes, commander of the 1710th. “I am proud we were able to bring back each and every Soldier to their families. The Soldiers did an excellent job, and they did everything with a great sense of pride. I couldn’t ask for anything more. They were always professional, and our motto of ‘You call, we haul’ is known all over Afghanistan.”

The company had no Soldiers killed in action or seriously wounded.

Soldiers from the 1710th Transportation Company drove more than 304,000 miles since they began running transportation support missions in June 2013 in Afghanistan. They conducted 43 sustainment and retrograde missions where they hauled more 3,200 20-foot container units for resupply operations and 100 pieces of rolling stock for transport out of country. During these operations, they maintained a 99% operational readiness rate and received a safety streamer for having no serious accidents.

The company’s maintenance section has performed nearly 800 quality assurance and quality control inspections before each vehicle leaves on a mission. They have also performed 95 repairs and completed 55 annual services.

While headquartered in Emporia, the 1710th is made up of Soldiers from all over the state. Approximately 70 Soldiers are from the Hampton Roads area, about 30 are from the Richmond and Petersburg area, approximately 15 are from the Emporia, Franklin and Courtland area, about 10 are from the Northern Virginia area and the other Soldiers are from various locations across the state.

The 1710th Transportation Company last served on active duty in Iraq from May 2008 to February 2009. The unit provided medium lift transportation that moved critical supplies from logistical support areas out to different forward operating bases, traveling supply routes all through Iraq.

“We have a great group of ambassadors here with the 1710th,” said Capt. Rodney Rhodes, commander of the 1710th. “They know the standard, and they apply that each and every day. They are hard working men and women, and I am proud to be their commander.”

Since September 11, 2001, more than 15,000 Virginia Guard Soldiers and Airmen have mobilized on federal active duty for homeland security missions and combat operations, sustainment support and peacekeeping in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo and other locations around the world.

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