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Vermont Guard Unit Honored For Service In Afghanistan

A unit that included nearly 600 Vermont National Guard members was honored Sunday for its service in Afghanistan.

In a ceremony at Norwich University in Northfield the 3rd Battalion 172nd Infantry (Mountain) was presented with the Army’s second highest unit citation.

Master Sergeant Mac Broich of St. Albans, who  served with the 172nd  took part in Sunday’s ceremony.  Broich said the award is significant to many people. 

“Not just me but my family as well and all my friends that were there with me and aren’t here today,” he said.  “It’s a big deal to come down here and be a part of this ceremony.”

Captain Jason Boyd of Fairfax, who also served in Paktya Province says the deployment and the battalion’s service are still fresh in his mind.

“Afghanistan runs through my head every single day in some way,” said Boyd. “ I’ve always known the quality of this unit and this just affirms official recognition for us.”

A narrative that accompanied the award described the 172nd's accomplishments, including gaining control of areas once safe for insurgents, capturing enemy fighters and weapons, protecting voting sites and helping with disaster assistance.

Two guard members who served with the unit died in combat:  Sergeant Tristan Southworth of Walden and Staff Sergeant Steven Deluzio of Glastonbury, Connecticut.

Vermont Guard medic Sergeant Michael Mulcahy was presented with Bronze Star Medal for Valor at Sunday’s ceremony for his bravery in treating the wounded while under fire in the fighting that claimed the lives of the two Vermont guard members.

Master Sergeant Eric Duncan of Northfield was the senior officer at joint combat outpost named Raman Kheyl in Paktya Province.

Duncan said the recognition the Valorous Award brings isn’t just important to those who served in Afghanistan.  It instills a sense of the unit’s distinction in its newest members.

“You can see it get through to the soldiers,” said Duncan. “We’ve got a bunch of new young officers and soldiers in this formation already and you look at them and they just want to live up to that.”

The 3rd Batallion 172nd Infantry Mountain was part of the largest post World War II deployment of the Vermont National Guard.  1500 members served in Afghanistan in 2010.