Welcoming home the 971st Army Reserve: 'This is my 5th trip home and I've never had anything like this'

      PLEASANT HILL, Ore. -- Crowds welcomed home the Army Reserve's 971st Movement Control Team Sunday with a ceremony at Elijah Bristow Park near Pleasant Hill.

      The group of 20 uniformed service men and women spent the last year in Afghanistan. The special ceremony not only honored their service, but also celebrated the passing of the torch.

      The 971st's Captain Matt Mitchell stepped down, issuing the new command to Captain Tom Dargan.

      "We went out there with a lot of brave soldiers who didn't come back. Fortunately our group from Eugene all came back alive. Can't say that for everyone," said former Captain Matt Mitchell, "There's still a war going on and I think we forget about that every once in a while."

      Each troop received a "thank you" gift from a group known as the Quilts of Valor.

      "The fight for freedom is a fight we all must fight, and the way I fight is by cutting up fabric sewing it back together," said Quilts of Valor member Bobbie Sanford. "Creating the quilt to make our men and women feel that we support them."

      The ceremony was followed with a backyard barbecue, giving the troops a proper home-cooked meal.

      Sergeant Daniel Christensen has been deployed five times; three to Iraq, and 2 to Afghanistan. He says this is a home coming he'll never forget.

      "This is amazing, I mean this is my 5th trip home and I've never had anything like this," said Sgt. Christensen.