Benicia’s 749th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion of the California Army National Guard returned home after a year-long tour in Adder, Iraq last November. Benicia recognized their homecoming the best way we know how: with a parade. The deployment was part of “Operation New Dawn,” the transition mission that marked the end of “Operation Iraqi Freedom” and U.S. combat operations in Iraq.

Members of the Benicia Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion and the VFW Ladies Auxiliary spearheaded the parade that was originally planned for March. An issue with liability insurance suspended their plans temporarily until local business owner Rob Storelee stepped in to troubleshoot and finance the necessary coverage for the event. Once the coverage was secure, Benicia’s Parks and Recreation and police departments assisted in expediting the necessary permits and volunteer requirements to put on the event. Valero Benicia Refinery helped provide funding for a luncheon for the Veterans.

The Benicia Middle and High School marching bands paid tribute to California’s heroes as Benicians lined First Street to usher our troops home. In addition to honoring the 749th CSSB, the parade also paid tribute to veterans for their service in the Korean and other wars.