Soldiers to be welcomed home at Saturday celebration

Skye Kinkade
Mount Shasta's Michael Smith hugs his son, Hunter, for the first time in a year when he returned from a tour in Afghanistan with the 132nd MRBC. He and his fellow soldiers returned to northern California in January. They'll be formally welcomed home at a ceremony at the Mount Shasta High School gym this Saturday, March 16, at 11 a.m. Photo by Skye Kinkade

A little more than a year ago, more than 500 people gathered at a tear filled departure ceremony for 16 Siskiyou County soldiers who were deployed to Afghanistan. This Saturday, people will come together again to welcome them home.

The keynote speaker at Saturday’s celebration, set to begin at 11 a.m. at the Mount Shasta High School Gym, is Major General David Baldwin, the Adjutant General of the California Military Department.

Also speaking will be Captain Adam Rix, commanding officer of the 132nd Multi Role Bridge Company, which consists of northern California soldiers from Siskiyou County as well as the Redding and Arcata areas.

Sheriff Jon Lopey and Sgt. 1st Class Duane Stacher will also speak at the ceremony.

“We are very lucky to have them speak at our Homecoming,” said Dan Dorsey, founder of Home Guard, which offered assistance to local soldiers and their families while they were stationed overseas.

Also participating will be local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts; bagpipers, trumpeters and singers.

After the ceremony, a reception is slated for the Mt. Shasta Armory building next door. Cake, cookies, coffee and lemonade will be served.

On display will be sections of ribbon bridges, like those the soliders built in Afghanistan as well as other items from their time overseas.