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Police escort was for troops returning home

On Tuesday afternoon, I was stuck at a traffic light near the Medford airport as about 20 police officers escorted a trio of buses near Million Air. What needed so much protection?

— Brian, via email

In those buses were Army National Guard troops being welcomed home, including a Medford police officer.

About 100 Oregon service men and women arrived at the Medford airport Tuesday, according to an Oregon Military Department press release, after a nine-month deployment in Djibouti, East Africa.

Medford police Tuesday afternoon posted a photo on its Facebook page of dozens of patrol vehicles at the airport welcoming Medford Officer Patrick Read home.

It’s not the only heartwarming photo of Tuesday’s homecoming. The Oregon National Guard has a 32-photo gallery at https://bit.ly/3henMVg of troops reuniting with their families and loved ones at the Expo.

More Oregon troops hailing from the northern part of the state returned home Wednesday in Forest Grove, where they were greeted by the Forest Grove mayor and U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley.

According to the Oregon National Guard, the deployments in Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and the Republic of Kosovo are part of the “second-largest mobilization of Oregon troops since World War II,” with the last troop mobilization of similar size being between 2009 and 2010.

More Southern Oregonians with the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat team are scheduled to return home later this month. They’re currently in the midst of a two-week quarantine in Fort Bliss, Texas, and will return to Medford Aug. 26 and 27.

The last wave of troops serving with the 41st Infantry stationed in Kosovo will be “home before Christmas,” according to the Oregon National Guard.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501 or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.