U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent (PA-15) gave the following remarks on the House floor to support a resolution honoring the members of the Pennsylvania National Guard, including the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team of the Pennsylvania National Guard, which recently completed a year long deployment to Iraq:
“Mr. Speaker, I rise today as an original cosponsor and in strong support of House Resolution 754. I thank Congressman Holden for introducing this Resolution.
“The United States National Guard is the oldest component of our armed forces, dating back to pre-Revolutionary War times. Over the past eight years, we have witnessed thousands of Guard members answer the call as they are asked to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Approximately 4,000 members of the Pennsylvania Guard were deployed to Iraq last fall – the largest deployment of the Pennsylvania National Guard since the Korean War. Prior to the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team’s deployment to Iraq, I visited them in Louisiana as they prepared to mobilize overseas. In June 2009, I travelled to Iraq to meet with the Pennsylvania National Guard 56th Stryker Brigade and other Pennsylvania troops.
“During my visit to Iraq, I saw a significant improvement in the security conditions on the ground. The fact we were able to safely drive through the bustling streets of Baghdad was an encouraging and welcome development. I know – without a doubt – it is the sacrifice, perseverance and bravery of these young men and women that has enabled such progress.
“I am pleased that just one year later, the 56th Stryker is returning home. As of late September, most of the Brigade has returned home. I am honored to be standing here today to pay tribute to these heroes. Our military families demonstrate tremendous bravery as they watch their loved ones go overseas to fight in harms way for the freedoms we experience every day in this great nation. Thank you to the entire Pennsylvania National Guard for protecting the families and communities of our great Commonwealth and standing at the ready to defend our homeland.
“I urge Members to support H.Res. 754, and I yield back the balance of my time.”