Spc. Joshua Meeks was killed while cleaning a gun at his home at about 10:30 p.m., in Whitwell. His widow, Kimberly, was presented a banner depicting a map of Iraq and branch of service insignia.
The MP Company deployed to Iraq in July 25, 2009, and returned home July 25, 2010 without a casualty. Headquarters of the 252nd is located in Cleveland, with a detachment in Louisville.
Brig. Gen. Ike Osborne, assistant adjutant general, Army Tennessee National Guard, welcomed the troops home in a short speech before each of the 170 guardsmen was presented with an encased American flag, a ceremonial coin, medallion and lapel pin to commemorate their service.
The soldiers accounted for nine Bronze Stars, two Meritorious Service Medals, 110 Army Commendation Medals, 26 Army Achievement Medals and 16 Combat Action Badges.
He said 252nd personnel trained six districts of Iraqi police to help improve the country’s internal security.
“You can be proud of your accomplishments,” he said. “Families, be proud of the young men and women.”
The general said the men and women of the 252nd MP Co. proved their character by serving the country instead of simply talking about it.
“You soldiers are part of a few who can say I was there. I didn’t stand on the sidelines and discuss the pros and cons,” he said. “Anyone can talk, but the majority will do nothing about it.”
The hour-long ceremony was held at Cleveland’s Westwood Baptist Church.
In an addition to the military awards and commendations, Jimmy Kibler, family assistance specialist, was presented the Minuteman Statue for his work as the Cleveland National Guard Armory support officer.
RSC Equipment Rentals was presented a large flag mosaic for going “above and beyond” in their support of the unit and families during deployment.