SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - More than 100 Soldiers from the 130th Engineer Brigade's headquarters reunited with their families here Wed., after serving nine months as the Theater Engineer Brigade for Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The unit first deployed to Bagram Airfield in September 2013 and then moved to Kabul to support the International Security Assistance Forces by providing theater engineer capabilities to include the development of the Afghan National Army Engineer Force, ISAF construction projects, base realignment and closure operations, and route clearance missions.

Friends and family members filled the hangar at Wheeler Gulch. They held newborn babies, homemade welcome home signs, and bushels of leis. The crowd's anxious chatting and laughter was interrupted by quick peeks at their watches and stares at the door their troops would soon walk through to a standing ovation of flickering camera flashes.

"I realize that I'm the only thing standing between you and these excited family members and friends, so I'll make this very short," said Maj. Gen. Stephen Lyons, the commander of the 8th Theater Sustainment Command.

He applauded the adaptability and critical role the unit played in Afghanistan, and thanked the troops and families for their sacrifice and service, before quickly turning the formation over to its commander, Col. Diana Holland.

When released, the two crowds crashed into each other in a wave of tears, hugs and kisses.

Other elements of the brigade also returned earlier in the year, and members of its 65th Engineer Battalion are now wrapping up their mission in Afghanistan.

During its headquarters deployment, the brigade's subordinate units have continued to conduct missions throughout the Pacific Theater.

Page last updated Thu June 5th, 2014 at 16:42