Courtesy readMedia Newswire

Approximately 20 Illinois Army National Guard Soldiers who served in Sinai, Egypt as part of the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) will return home this week. The 708th Medical Company based in North Riverside will have their homecoming ceremony at 1 p.m. May 8. The ceremony is scheduled to take place at the North Riverside National Guard Armory, 8660 W. Cermak Road.

This is the second half of a 45-man team that mobilized in July 2012 and deployed to Sinai, Egypt after training for a brief time at Camp Atterbury, Ind. The rest of the unit returned home April 29.

The 708th was split into two teams, running operations out of two separate camps approximately 250 miles apart on the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt and surrounding areas in Egypt and Israel. The unit provided a full-range of medical, dental, physical therapy and preventative medicine services to more than 2,500 personnel from 14 countries who are part of the MFO. Within the medical clinics, 708th Soldiers worked with providers from the United States, Fiji, Columbia, Uruguay, Hungary and Italy.

708th personnel responded to four mass casualty incidents in a three-month period where they were required to provide expedient, quality care to the patients brought in for treatment. Overall, 40 patients were treated during those four incidents.

The unit also assisted in ensuring food-borne illnesses and the spread of diseases did not affect personnel in the area after a water shortage in October. When water returned to the region, water in the new wells was sampled to ensure the water was safe for consumption.

Because of their outstanding support, the 708th personnel and their medical clinics were nominated for the Army Superior Unit Award. Soldiers in the unit also received awards and coins from several general officers including Gen. Raymond Odierno, Chief of Staff for the Army.

The MFO is an international peacekeeping force that oversees the terms of the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. For three decades the MFO has carried out its mission and has proven successful. The desire of peace on the part of both Israel and Egypt, combined with the effectiveness of the MFO, has resulted in a durable and lasting state of peace between the two nations.

Twelve nations (Australia, Canada, Colombia, the Czech Republic, the Republic of the Fiji Islands, France, Hungary, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, the United States and Uruguay) contribute contingents to make up the MFO’s force.

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