Asides on the 217th:
* The seven members of the 217th on Delta flight 1521 from Cincinnati to Lexington were given a hero's reception by fellow passengers, according to Advocate Editor and Publisher Mary Schurz, who was aboard the plane. When a flight attendant announced that the soldiers were returning home a year in Operation Iraqi Freedom, the plane erupted in applause, said Schurz, who was returning to Danville after attending a Schurz Communications board meeting in South Bend, Ind. A passenger in first class offered to buy a round of drinks for the soldiers, but the pilot said the airline would handle the toasting. A tray of libations was dispatched for the Guardsmen to enjoy, said Schurz. The recognition began before the soldiers boarded the plane at Greater Cincinnati Airport. "Total strangers came up to them and thanked them for serving their country," she said.
* Eight members of the 217th remain in Iraq. They will be coming home in mid-May. Meanwhile, the 1103rd Military Police Unit, based in Harrodsburg, recently arrived in Iraq for its tour of duty. Altogether, more than 900 Kentucky Army and Air National Guardsmen have served in Iraq; 360 are still there.