Vanguard Soldiers Continue Returning Home
December 12, 2008
<b> FORT STEWART, GA </b> -- More than 700 Soldiers from the 4th Brigade Combat Team were welcomed home at Fort Stewart's Cottrell Field in three separate ceremonies, Dec. 4 - 8, following their deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The Vanguard Soldiers arrived on three separate days but were greeted warmly by hundreds of waiting Families, friends and colleagues, as well as by music from the 3rd Infantry Division Band.
Throughout the four ceremonies, group of returnees was greeted by 3rd ID Commander Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo and Assistant Division Commander for Maneuver, Brig. Gen. Patrick Donohue, who congratulated them on their success and welcomed them back home.
"Vanguard Soldiers, on behalf Maj. Gen. Cucolo and (Command )Sgt. Maj. (Jesse) Andrews (3rd ID command sergeant major), I am here to officially welcome you home to Fort Stewart," Donohue said. "Also I want to tell you how proud we are of what you've done in the 14-plus months in Iraq. In fact this division and the entire nation is proud of what you accomplished during the time you served your country."
The crowd of welcome-homers began forming up together on the field hours before the arrival of the Soldiers to prepare themselves for their loved ones' return.
Members from a local Vietnam Veterans of America passed out miniature American flags and volunteers from the USO supplied hot coco and coffee to the hundreds of welcome-homers prior to the arrival of the Soldiers.
Ashley Curry, wife of Capt. Greg Curry, assigned to the 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 4th BCT, said that the return of her husband is even more special because its before the holidays.
"We are very happy that he will be here for Christmas," Curry said. "This year, all we plan to do is spend the holiday together and enjoy ourselves."
Soldiers had barely finished singing the last verse of the "Dog Face Soldier" song before their eager Family Members rushed the field after a long separation.
The Soldiers returned after providing security to the Iraqi local population and helped train members of the Iraqi Security Forces.
The brigade began its deployment Aug. 2007 and was the last brigade of the 3rd ID to deploy.
The remaining 4th BCT Soldiers are set to return throughout the month of December.