SACO (AP) – Members of two Maine military units that served in Iraq were honored in separate homecoming ceremonies during the weekend.

Members of the 94th U.S. Army Reserve Military Police Co. gathered Sunday for a tribute at Thornton Academy. The unit returned home earlier this month, 20 months after being deployed.

Among those at the ceremony was Army Reserve Sgt. Curtis Mills, who was wounded last September when a bomb rocked his Humvee.

Mills, who works as a mail carrier in Sanford, underwent surgeries for multiple shrapnel wounds along the right side of his body and spent nearly 11 months in rehabilitation at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington.

The 94th is based in Londonderry, N.H., and has a Maine-based detachment in Saco.

In Augusta, members of an Army National Guard unit were honored Saturday with words of encouragement.

American flags, plaques, coins, lapel pins and certificates for their work in Iraq.

More than 200 people filled the Augusta State Armory to pay tribute to the 28 soldiers from the guard’s 133rd Engineer Battalion, who returned to the United States in June after more than a year of service.

Brig. Gen. John “Bill” Libby, Maine National Guard commander and a Vietnam War veteran, told the soldiers that adjusting back to civilian life will take time. He urged them to look forward and enjoy time with their families.

“It will take years to transition,” Libby said.

The 28 men and women were deployed in May 2003 separately from the rest of their battalion, to support a combat engineer battalion from Georgia. The units rebuilt roads, public buildings and infrastructure in Iraq.

U.S. Rep. Thomas Allen, D-Maine, said Maine residents appreciate the efforts of American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan even if they disagree with the Bush administration’s policies there. He said when U.S. soldiers returned from Vietnam, they were often associated with the politics of war.

“That hasn’t happened this time,” Allen said.

State Rep. Patrick Colwell, D-Gardiner, said soldiers miss important family milestones when stationed in a foreign land, while their families endure hardships of their own.

“They’re left behind to look at an empty seat at the dinner table,” Colwell said.



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