Riders News

Families welcome home soldiers

Guard unit had served in Kuwait

August 14, 2011

NEWTON FALLS – On Saturday, the 38 soldiers of the Newton Falls-based Ohio Army National Guard’s 292nd Engineer Detachment returned to their loved ones after a year overseas contributing to Operation New Dawn.

With much of the country still lamenting the loss of Navy SEALs and various other military tragedies, family and friends at Newton Falls First Church of God were all the more grateful for their heroes’ safe return to American soil.

One of the youngest family members was Cadence Pauley, 8 months, who welcomed home her daddy, Spc. Josh Pauley, 21, of Conneaut. From the arms of her tearfully overjoyed mother Syndey, Cadence – named for the military term – grabbed at the fatigues of her equally tearful dad, who had not seen her since she was 9 days old.

“It was rough leaving,” Pauley said of the day he deployed. “It was worse the second time though.” He had been allowed to come back on leave the day Cadence was born, New Year’s Eve 2010. He stayed for another eight days, then rejoined his unit in Kuwait.

“I knew I had another eight months before I’d see them again,” he said.

Pauley and 37 other members of his engineer detachment spent the year since last September reconstructing military trailers and building administrative offices at Camp Arifjan, to help facilitate the draw down of military engagements in Iraq and expediting the surge of troops into Afghanistan.

They also helped build Patriot Missile launch sites, logistics facilities, roadways, parking areas and building complexes all over Kuwait.

During that time, Pauley celebrated his 21st birthday, and he comes home with his uniform jacket a little heavier than it was when he left. Pauley received the Army Achievement Medal, the Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal and the Army Good Conduct Medal.

Throughout their deployment, the soldiers of the 292nd split a total of 38 medals, according to statements made at a ceremony in the soldiers’ honor by the adjutant general of Ohio, Maj. Gen. Deborah A. Ashenhurst.

Newton Falls Mayor Lyle Waddell and representatives of U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman joined various military personnel on the stage inside the church to offer thanks and salutations to the returned Guardsmen.

But for all the hoopla, Pauley said he was most eager and appreciative to hold his wife and daughter and go get a beer with his mother-in-law and her husband. Tess and Mike Kelly of Ashtabula attended along with multiple members of their American Legion motorcycle troop to wave flags and show camaraderie to the soldiers.

“There’s no feeling like it, I’m just so glad to be back home with my family,” Pauley said.

Pauley intends to sign up for active duty as a regular army soldier and make a career as a non-commissioned officer.