Soldiers and family member gathered on Hamilton Field to formally welcome home the troops of the 45th Sustainment Brigade during a redeployment ceremony Jan. 21 at Schofield Barracks.
The 45th Sust. Brigade deployed for a year-long mission in Afghanistan to provide logistical support for a myriad of units stretching across an entire country in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Maj. Gen. Michael J. Terry, commanding general, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, summed up the gathered Soldiers as heroes on the battlefield.
"The 45th Sustainment Brigade operated in a highly dangerous environment for a full year," Terry said. "They served with bravery and courage, accomplishing their mission without fame or fanfare, day in and day out to take care of the troops on the ground."
The brigade achieved several significant accomplishments during their deployment, which include more than 500 missions and over 855,000 miles on the dangerous roads of Afghanistan. Some statistics include: distributing 150 million gallons of fuel, constructing and certifying 10 forward supply points, along with supporting the surge from 56,000 to 80,000 military, civilian, and coalition personnel in 200 separate forward operating bases and combat outposts.
"It's great to have you all home," Terry said to the troops. "Be safe in everything you do, and take care of each other as you as you reconnect with your family and friends here in Hawaii."
Col. Clay Hatcher, commander, 45th Sustainment Brigade, called the deployment a logistical milestone for any support unit arriving in Afghanistan.
"Soldiers, you built the foundation for future success in what many people call one of the most logistically challenged environments," he said. "You rose to that challenge and met all our expectations and then some. At the end of the day, supporting Soldier across the country was the constant success of the Soldier of Task Force Lightning Support."
Spc. Andrew Orr, a signal support specialist with Company, B, 45th Sust. Bde., said the work load was a challenge but looking back on the deployment, he credits It for having helped groom him into a better more well-rounded Soldier.
"One of the biggest things I wanted to learn from this experience was how I'd react to situations," he said. "I wanted to learn my job downrange, so all the training I received, boiled down to that moment I got on the plane for my first deployment. It taught me and showed me my true self. I soldiered up, and things I didn't think I was capable of. I worked in a tough environment with long hours and in not the most perfect of locations, which will help me in any future tour."
He added, "When you think about jobs in the Army, you never really understand how important some tasks are for success but that all changed one day when I saw and hear firsthand what our efforts provided for the war fighters. You get a lot of renewed respect for what you do in the Army because you can see the bigger scheme of what your job does for everyone, like in our case - for a whole country."