Staff Sgt. Jennifer Bunn
2nd Brigade Combat Team
More than 100 Soldiers from 1st and 2nd Brigade Combat Team arrived at Fort Drum on Tuesday after a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan.
Soldiers flew into Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield, where they passed through customs and completed some initial redeployment processing that included administrative paperwork and turning in their weapons before being bussed to Magrath Sports Complex for a much-anticipated welcome home ceremony.
As Sgt. Curtis Hanna, an unmanned aerial vehicle operator assigned to B Company, 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 1st BCT, went though the lines, he said he was excited to be back after a successful deployment. He was anxious to see his wife.
“Deployment was good; we went over there and accomplished our mission and we came back,” Hanna said. “So far, the (redeployment) process has been very streamlined. It’s been a really easy transition, but this needs to hurry up a bit.”
This was Spc. Angeline Smith’s second deployment in six years. Smith, an X-ray technician assigned to C Company, 10th Bri-gade Support Battalion, 1st BCT, said she was looking forward to a really calm bath once she gets settled in.
“I am excited to be back,” she said. “Just happy to get back to being a bit more relaxed.”
Once initial processing concluded and the Soldiers arrived at Magrath, they were marched in single file on the gym floor to form a formation in front of their loved ones and friends. Maj. Gen. Ste-phen Townsend, Fort Drum and 10th Mountain Division (LI) commander, promptly took the po-dium and said a few words about the Soldiers standing before them.
“These are the Warriors of the 1st Brigade and a handful of the Commandos from 2nd Brigade,” he said. “For the past nine months, these Soldiers have been in Af-ghanistan. They have done our nation’s bidding there. They fought more than most people realize, and they supported the Afghan National Security Forces.
“They supported them with combat advice, fires, security and logistics, and on top of all that, they helped with the drawdown of our nation’s efforts there and closed down some bases,” Towns-end continued.
“They really did some dangerous work over there for the last nine months. The whole nation ought to be proud of them.”
The short speech ended with thunderous applause, after which everyone sang the 10th Mountain Division and Army songs, accompanied by the 10th Mountain Division Band. Then the flood gates were opened. Soldiers and Family greeted each other with smiles, tears and hugs.
“I am very proud of my son, my whole Family is,” exclaimed Mike Pulley, who traveled from Tulsa, Okla, to see his son, Pfc. Matthew Pulley of D Company, 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 1st BCT. “I wouldn’t miss it for my life. This is very important for us.”