Freedom Salute Ceremony Planned for North Riverside National Guard Unit


by Illinois National Guard


NORTH RIVERSIDE, IL (01/18/2012)(readMedia)– Approximately 170 Illinois Army National Guard Soldiers with the 1244th Transportation Company will be recognized Jan. 22 by the National Guard Bureau Freedom Salute Campaign for their sacrifice and service while deployed to Kuwait. The ceremony starts at 10 a.m. and will take place at the North Riverside National Guard armory, 8660 W. Cermak Road in North Riverside.

Mobilized in September 2010, the 1244th was the first unit from Illinois to deploy as part of Operation New Dawn. This operation supported the transition from the combat operations of Operation Iraqi Freedom to the new phase supporting the responsible drawdown of U.S. and coalition military forces. The unit returned home in September.

The mission of the 1244th included hauling cargo throughout Iraq and Kuwait for 10 months. The unit completed approximately 220 convoy missions totaling more than 3.8 million miles and moved approximately 170 million pounds of cargo with no fatalities. The achievements of the 1244th resulted in 11 Soldiers receiving Bronze Star Medals, 12 Meritorious Service Medals, 15 Combat Action Badges, three Purple Hearts and numerous other individual and unit awards.

The 1244th was instrumental in transporting the last remaining British Soldiers and their equipment out of Iraq in May 2011. Capt. Shawn Nokes of Springfield, the 1244th commander, said he was extremely proud of the execution by the 1244th and said the mission was a historic example of cooperation between the two nations.

Soldiers from the North Riverside unit were joined by Soldiers from the 1344th Transportation Company in East St. Louis; 1544th Transportation Company in Paris; 1844th Transportation Company in Quincy; Company A, 405th Brigade Support Battalion in Streator; 232nd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion in Springfield; 3637th Maintenance Company in Springfield; Company F, 634th Brigade Support Battalion in Mount Vernon and the 108th Sustainment Brigade in Chicago.