Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the gentleman for recognizing me.
I want to rise today in proud and enthusiastic support to House Resolution 754, honoring the citizen-soldiers of the Pennsylvania National Guard, including the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, known as the Stryker Brigade of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, on its return to the United States from deployment in Iraq.
On January 15, 2009, the 56th Stryker Brigade was deployed to Taji, Iraq. Just last month, this extraordinary combat team, 4,000 strong, returned to their families in Pennsylvania after an incredibly successful deployment. They were welcomed home with proud, open arms throughout our State.
In June, I was grateful and honored to have had the opportunity to visit Iraq and to meet personally with members of the 56th Stryker Brigade from the Third District of Pennsylvania. These brave Pennsylvanians embodied the fire of patriotism and the humility of sacrifice. I was in awe of their accomplishments and the high standard of excellence by which they executed their mission.
Just yesterday, I was on a plane ride back to Washington sitting next to a general whose son's division from Fort Hood took the place of our 56th Stryker Brigade from Pennsylvania, and he mentioned to me how honored his son was to take over from such an excellent group of soldiers. It was certainly a joy and an honor to greet our troops as they returned to Cambridge Springs just last month, the division out of my district.
Never had I felt such intense pride in our country as I did when meeting these extraordinary soldiers and witnessing the sacrifices they have made so that we may live in freedom and prosperity.
Our Pennsylvania National Guard has answered the call to defend these United States of America and ensure the security of our people and our way of life. Today, we honor these Guardsmen and thank them for their service. In doing so, we also renew our pledge to provide our men and women in uniform with the highest quality of care and benefits they have earned. In doing so, we show our intense gratitude and enormous respect for our soldiers who so rightly deserve it.
Mr. Speaker, I offer my unwavering support of House Resolution 754. I thank Congressman Holden for bringing this resolution forward. Our Pennsylvania National Guard and our 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team certainly deserve this recognition. May God bless our troops.