Special Repair Activity 13 Soldiers return home from six-month deployment
Angeles Bernando embraces son-in-law Spc. Troy Altman after he returned home from a six-month Iraq deployment Sunday.

FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- The song "I'll Be Home for Christmas" carried more relevancy than normal for six 597th Ordnance (Maintenance) Company Soldiers and their Families Sunday.

Under the foggy night's cover, Special Repair Activity 13 Soldiers returned here from a six-month deployment in Iraq, where they repaired air traffic control equipment at military installations.

"Mission accomplished. The mission was a total success," Col. John Goodsmith, Air Traffic Services Command leader, said of the work Spc. Robert Hubbard, Spc. Jennief Snowden, Spc. Troy Altman, Sgt. Marco Elder, Sgt. Demetrius Scott Sr. and Staff Sgt. Jason Brumfield performed.

Capt. Leonard Jack Stewart, 597th company commander, said the Soldiers' jobs allow for aircraft to safely land in the Middle Eastern country, sometimes a thankless job.

"They're there to protect the pilots," he said. "It's the last thing thought of but the first thing needed."

Hubbard, from Ocala, Fla., completed his first deployment and said the experience gained was invaluable.

"I learned a lot about my MOS (military occupational specialty) and the equipment I worked on," he said, noting his best learning experience occurred when he completely rewired some equipment in which a mouse chewed all the wires.

Scott, from Gadsden, said his second deployment went more smoothly than his first one in 2003, attributing the difference to more facilities and guidance from team leader Sgt. 1st Class Jorge Camara-Falu. Camara-Falu, along with Staff Sgt. Johnpaulo Ryan, opted to complete another six-month tour.

In addition to fixing air traffic control equipment, this group also accomplished another task - building a new home.

When another unit moved, it opened up four trailers of office space for the team. Brumfield said the move created more office space for the SRA 13 Soldiers, and Stewart noted they also had room to build a recreation room and workout area. Brumfield added he loved working on the project.

"It's good to improve future SRA teams' morale," he said. "I'm sure I'll get to use it."
While the Soldiers gifted future SRA 13 Soldiers more space and recreational activities, the Soldiers and Family members received a morale boost since the homecoming came days before Christmas.

"This is as good as it gets. This is the best Christmas," Scott said.

"You have peace in your mind and your heart. You don't have to worry," said Altman's mother-in-law Angeles Bernando, who traveled from Santa Cruz, Calif., to visit her daughter and welcome Altman home.

Brumfield, the father of 2-year-old Clarissa and 4-year-old Perrin, noted coming home for Christmas allows him to fulfill a parental duty - delivering wish lists to Santa Claus.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16