BAUMHOLDER, Germany Aca,!" Bringing home stories from the warfront, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, is back in Baumholder after more than 14 months in Iraq.

Welcomed home with food, fun and live rock music from the chart-topping American group Hinder, Soldiers of the brigade enjoyed a Soldier and Family Appreciation Day June 5. The brigade held its redeployment ceremony with the uncasing of the colors on Minick Field.

Aca,!A"Our task was twofold,Aca,!A? said Col. Pat White, 2nd Brigade Combat Team commander, about the brigadeAca,!a,,cs deployment, Aca,!A"to improve the quality of life for the people of the MadaAca,!a,,cin Qada through a series of projects (intended) to enhance the infrastructure of the area while simultaneously applying pressure to the insurgents to disrupt their ability to use the MadaAca,!a,,cin as a way station for attacks in Baghdad. The Soldiers of the brigade were up to this undertaking and performed with courage and honor.Aca,!A?

The brigadeAca,!a,,cs Sgt. Danny Brown and Staff Sgt. Christopher Dyer shared their stories of courage and honor.

Aca,!A"I received a bronze star, a purple heart and a combat medical badge all on the same day,Aca,!A? said Brown, a combat medic with Company A, 26th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Division.

Brown was on a normal patrol in his sector conducting sensing sessions with the males of every home when he noticed a man on a bicycle dressed in a Sons of Iraq uniform go by, he said. The man disappeared down the block, and when he returned 30 minutes later, the man opened fire.

Brown described the situation as Aca,!A"sort of like an ambush.Aca,!A?

Brown reacted to the situation by sending fire back to the enemy, which in turn stirred enemy feedback, he said.

Aca,!A"At first I was in shock,Aca,!A? said Brown. Aca,!A"He opened fire on our lieutenant first. By the time he got off a couple shots, I had got out my nine (millimeter) and started returning fire. After I made a couple shots and (the gunman) identified me as a threat, he turned his weapon on me. I took two to the chest and one in the shoulder. My plates pretty much saved my life.Aca,!A?

But Brown said he did not feel the need to tell his teenage son about the situation he had just survived.

Aca,!A"I have a 17-old-son so I was real hesitant to even share the experience with him until I was face-to-face. I didnAca,!a,,ct want to scare him over the phone. I waited a few days after I got back and then in a casual conversation, I let him know I got shot at, but IAca,!a,,cm fine,Aca,!A? said Brown.

Staff Sgt. Dyer, a Bradley section leader with Company A, 1-6th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Division, was protecting engineers tasked with the construction of a wall when he came under attack.

Aca,!A"During the operation (Stryker Resolve), we built a three-kilometer wall of concrete splitting the city of Sadr in half, keeping the insurgents on one side and the safety of the people on the other side,Aca,!A? said Dyer. Aca,!A"During the build, the insurgents were very adamant about stopping us from completing our mission.Aca,!A?

Dyer said the fighting happened just about every day as the construction was in progress.

Aca,!A"My mission, the day I received the Army commendation medal with valor, was to hold down the delta gold intersection. It was an entry point for all the concrete and engineer assets coming onto where we were actually building the wall. During the end of my shift that day we had a rocket propelled grenade team try and come up on our left flank and ambush us. We engaged and destroyed them stopping the ambush before it even began.

Aca,!A"If we hadnAca,!a,,ct engaged and destroyed them they would have engaged all the soft-skinned engineer vehicles, which would not (have been) able to sustain those RPGs.Aca,!A?

Both men said their encounters changed their outlook. Brown said he now appreciates and is thankful for the knowledge he has gained through Army training.

Aca,!A"Spend every moment with (your family) and make everything mean the most. IAca,!a,,cm glad that itAca,!a,,cs over. I hate that it happened, but IAca,!a,,cm just glad that my instincts kicked in and I did what we trained to do,Aca,!A? said Brown. Aca,!A"The insurgent is dead; we lit him up.Aca,!A?

Dyer said, Aca,!A"When I first got home I sat outside with my wife and just enjoyed some fresh air. ItAca,!a,,cs much different getting off the plane here. In Iraq as soon as they hit the door the dry hot sand and smoke smell hits you. When you get off the plane here and see all that green itAca,!a,,cs just refreshing.Aca,!A?

The SoldiersAca,!a,,c welcome home festivities included free food and entertainment by Hinder, Ember, Edison, the 1st Armored Division Dixieland Band and the band XII Lead, led by 2nd BCT surgeon Capt. Joseph May.

Aca,!A"My husband returned two weeks ago after 15 months,Aca,!A? said Ana Bicford. Aca,!A"I felt overwhelmed when I first saw him. We are very close, so it was hard having him gone, but you snap out of it and you start doing what you need to do because it helps. I took up my time by volunteering. I got involved with the Family Readiness Group. I was always doing something, you know. ItAca,!a,,cs kind of funny because now that my husband is back, he jokes that I have more work than him.Aca,!A?

Page last updated Tue June 16th, 2009 at 07:13