FRANKLIN —Before the 160 members of the 298th Transportation Co. of the U.S. Army Reserves could officially be dismissed Sunday to join their families, they were guests for a brief special ceremony.

Among the speakers was their commander Maj. Joseph Corcoran III of Texas.

Speaking to the families, he told them that 16 months ago when they lent him their sons, daughters, husbands, wives and grandpas to go into Iraq, he promised them he would bring them all home safely. He said he kept that promise.

But, he continued, “I did not do that. It was not because of my leadership. The soldiers learned the Army values and did what they were supposed to do day in and day out.”

On a lighter note, he expressed appreciation for all those who sent them items., noting the huge number of Girl Scout cookies. “We will probably never be able to eat them again,” he joked as troop members smiled.

He expressed appreciation for the “toothpaste, flea and tick collars” as well as to those who helped make certain the Internet was working daily for troops to have e-mail.

Speaking directly to the troops, he noted that he is leaving now to go back home to the “great state of Texas,” but reminded them that “each and every one of your are part of my family now, 24/7,” and encouraged them to keep in touch as he dismissed the company.

Others advised the troops to talk with their families and friends about their experience and to seek support when needed.

For every member who came home Sunday, there was more than one member of the Patriot Guard motorcyclist riding to honor him or her.

The miles of motorcyclists, 200 vehicles in all, escorted the three buses of servicemen from Hubbard, Ohio, through Franklin to the Franklin Airport where they were greeted by their families and friends.

Among the riders was Phil Davis of Meadville. “We do it as a way to pay respects to the ones who are serving now,” said the Vietnam veteran.

“We are proud of you,” said Col. Kenneth Demers, commander of the 475th Group, to the servicemen, all dressed in camouflage as they stood five deep in formation to hear the parting words and advice offered before their final dismissal — to return home — until duty calls again.

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