Arnco-Sargent students get visit from U.S. Army bomb squad

Thu, 03/29/2007 - 2:36pm
By: The Citizen

Arnco-Sargent Elementary School students had a chance to meet veterans of the U.S. war in Iraq last week, and get a close-up look at the equipment troops use to keep them safe.

In January, Sergeant Dan Homan and fellow members of his U.S. Army bomb squad came home to Georgia after spending six months in Iraq clearing roadways of explosives north of the Iraqi city of Tikrit.

Homan is a Coweta County resident married to Arnco-Sargent teacher Kim Homan, and the couple also has two sons that attend the school – first-grader Jeffery and pre-Kindergarten student Gabriel.

Last week, Homan brought three fellow members of the 723rd OD Company Bomb Squad with him to the school, including Sergeant Charles Johnston, Sergeant David Cozad and Specialist Matthew McCarty – all recently returned from Iraq also. The four men brought specialized body armor (students tried it on) and bomb-clearing equipment used by the squad.

The bomb squad spent July through December in northern Iraq. The 24-member unit consisted of four operating teams that disarmed over 352 explosive devices, clearing 71,000 miles of highway.

Homan was modest about the accomplishment, saying that similar Baghdad units cleared more. But soldiers within the 24-member unit have received between them seven Bronze stars and 17 Army Commendation Medals for their recent service. Homan said his squad is scheduled to rotate back to Iraq later this year.

Because of Homan’s ties to Arnco-Sargent, students and teachers there have followed the squad during their service in Iraq. “They have played a huge role in our lives this year. These men mean the world to us,” said teacher Jessica Rogers. “We would like to give them some recognition for serving our country as they have… We would like for people to know what a wonderful group of men they are and what they did to support our country.”

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