Sustainment Brigade's Arrival Starts Flood of Emotion
August 8, 2008
<b> FORT STEWART, GA </b> -- Like a sprinkle before a storm, the 226th Quartermaster Company, 87th Combat Service Support Battalion began the 3rd Infantry Division's Sustainment Brigade's redeployment, July 31.
Welcoming home the 110 Soldiers from the 226th, nearly 500 Soldiers and Family members packed the bleachers. Newman Fitness Center's gymnasium resounded with shouts and cheers as the first Soldiers walked through the doors.
Forming up the company in front of the audience, the 226th commander Capt. Terance Latson was greeted by Lt. Col. Stephen Smith, 87th CSSB Commander.
Prior to their arrival, Smith said the 226th were deployed primarily in Forward Operating Bases Sykes and FOB Warrior. He said the Soldiers pretty much had hands-on anything logistical from food to repair parts, with mission such as refueling aircraft in northern Iraq.
He said the unit essentially lived up to its nickname, Atlas Company - supporting the weight of the effort there.
A recent returnee himself, Smith kept his comments short to expedite the reunion of Soldiers and Family. But he thanked the Soldiers for their efforts and the Families for their patience. He thanked them all for their sacrifice and noted they did an outstanding job in their 15-month deployment to Iraq.
Among the crowd waiting for the Soldiers to be released was Master Sgt. Sylvia Whitfield, 3rd Sustainment Brigade, along with her father Bennie and mother, Ardeli. Although a Soldier herself, she awaited the return of the 226th first sergeant, her twin sister 1st Sgt. Cynthia Whitfield.
Sylvia said they had been stationed together at Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield for the last four years, and hoped to soon retire in Savannah.
Their father Bennie, who retired from the Army himself as a staff sergeant, had initially been against their joining the service - he said he didn't want to end up having to salute them. He then added that he didn't mind them joining as long as they understood the challenges that came with service.
Accomplished Soldiers both, they said they have no regrets about serving. Cynthia said she was proud to have deployed with the 226th.
"My Soldiers have done an outstanding job - from beginning to finish," Whitfield said. "I could not have been more proud. They did what they had to do to accomplish the mission, then came back home."
She said while there she felt the support from her Family was splendid. She said they did everything for her except come to Iraq to give her a lift home when the job was done.
Celebrating the return of Sustainment Brigade Soldiers continued Aug. 1, as 70 more Soldiers returned and were greeted by hundreds of Family and well wishers at Cottrell Field. Also present to welcome the Soldiers and entertain the crowd, the 3rd Inf. Div. Band played a selection of music both patriotic and fun.
Returns will continue throughout the month of September, and although their arrival will be in scattered, their arrival will be met with a flood of emotion.
Family members can learn the latest dates and time of arrivals at www.stewart.army.mil.