Grand Welcome Planned for Injured Soldier

Sgt. James Pierce, a N.C. National Guard soldier injured in an attack in Afghanistan that claimed the life of Sgt. T.J. Butler and two other soldiers in October, will be receiving a grand welcome when he returns to the Port City on Saturday from Walter Reed Army Medical Center where he is recovering.

Pierce's friend Kimberly Munley of Carolina Beach contacted New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon via email to request extra police patrols because Pierce will be escorted home to Monkey Junction by a contingent of motorcyclists from the Patriot Guard and Rolling Thunder. Munley is the former Texas police officer who shot and stopped a U.S. Army major who opened fire and killed soldiers at Fort Hood in 2009,

New Hanover County Sheriff's Sgt. Jerry Brewer said the group is expected to arrive about 5 p.m., and deputies will be on hand to help with traffic control.

Pierce, Butler, Sgt. Jeremy F. Hardison of Maysville, and Sgt. Donna R. Johnson of Raeford were on a joint U.S.-Afghan foot patrol in Khost, Afghanistan, when an insurgent wearing a bomb-laden vest targeted their unit

Butler, Hardison and Johnson were killed. Pierce and another soldier were seriously injured.

According to the email to McMahon from Munley, Pierce will spend two weeks at home in Monkey Junction before returning for a possible two-year recovery period at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

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