|Welcome home, job well done
Source: Lori Egan
Welcome home, job well done’
Benning Bayonet 19 Sep 2008By The Bayonet, Lori Egan
After a weeklong sandstorm in Kuwait, Staff Sgt. Willie Walker managed to arrange transportation for 46 Soldiers with the 13th Combat Support Sustainment Battalion. They arrived at Fort Benning’s Freedom Hall Wednesday night after a 22-hour flight.
The unit’s transportation coordinator said his goal was to get all 80 Soldiers on the same flight, which was scheduled originally for Sept. 13. But weather delays, along with other redeploying units and Soldiers returning on R&R forced the unit to split, returning on separate flights.
“Everybody’s out of Iraq,” Walker said.
“Now they’re waiting for a flight from Kuwait.” At press time, the 34 Soldiers waiting were expected to return from their 15-month deployment on Saturday.
“At least they’re out of harm’s way,” said retired Chief Petty Officer Marty Martishius who drove 900 miles in 14 hours from Virginia Beach, Va., to greet his son, Sgt. Jason LaRoque. LaRoque is one of the Soldiers still in Kuwait. His mother, Penny, joked about not seeing any sand, but satellite images on the Web site eosnap.com show Kuwait obscured by sand and talks about a sandstorm covering the entire northern portion of Iraq to the Persian Gulf.
“It was a huge sandstorm,” Walker said.
And a long flight, said Spc. Robert Hatchell, a chemical specialist from Chicago. “It’s good to be back,” he said.
Waiting for the Soldiers were their families, USO and Red Cross volunteers and members of the Patriot Guard. The unit’s family readiness group decorated the holding area with signs welcoming the Soldiers home and balloons and flags decorated Freedom Hall.
Earlier in the week, the FRG prepared the single Soldiers’ rooms in the barracks, making beds and leaving care packages for them.
In Iraq, the 13th CSSB’s Headquarters and Headquarters Company provided command and control for 10 subordinate units and conducted logistical support activities for coalition forces from Logistical Support Area Anaconda, said Capt. Julie Stockelman, the unit’s rear detachment commander.
“We are really proud of all our Soldiers and can’t wait for them all to be home, and out of harm’s way,” she said.