MADELINE RAINERI | Reporter
Video by Nick Feakes
Black plastic chairs lined the floor of the basketball court in Hyland Arena Thursday to welcome home the National Guard soldiers of the Bravo and Charlie Companies of the 1-138th Infantry Regiment, including Michael Mueller, a member of Lindenwood’s staff.
Mueller is a representative for the evening and graduate admissions team, and his co-workers came to show their support for him with decorated signs stating “Like No Other,” and “Welcome Home,” in bright colors, covered in glitter.
The battalions represented at the ceremony include 234 soldiers returning from a year-long deployment to Qatar, where they supported Operation Spartan Shield, according to the program for the event.
The battalion’s “First Missouri” Citizen Soldiers were mobilized on numerous occasions since Sept. 1, 2010, including the winter storms of 2010, and the protests after Ferguson teenage Michael Brown’s death in 2014.
The soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 138th Infantry Regiment also have answered multiple calls to support federal services, including Operation Noble Eagle, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and more, including their most recent deployment.
Lindenwood was selected as the venue for the arrival ceremony because of the university’s willingness to work with the organizer of the event, Capt. Marie Watkins. Watkins said she was grateful to Lindenwood for allowing them to host the event in the Hyland Arena.
The ceremony, originally scheduled for 1:30 p.m. was delayed until 4 p.m. due to a delay in flight time for the soldiers, but Watkins was confident in the success of the event because of Lindenwood’s adaptability.
The main event included the singing of the national anthem, prayers, commentary and ultimately, an “order to take charge.”