FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Forty-one Soldiers of the 14th Military Intelligence Battalion returned to Fort Sam Houston March 16 after eight months in Iraq.

The Soldiers were redeploying from their mission at the Joint Interrogation and Debriefing Center at Camp Cropper in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Although the weather was cold and dismal outside the Army Community Service building this late-winter morning, hearts warmed and eyes brightened when the Soldiers entered and took their places in formation inside.

Formalities were brief. Lt. Col. Theresa Walsh, 470th MI Brigade deputy commander, welcomed the troops home and reminded them and their Families to let patience and moderation be their watchwords.

Then the dismissal order was given, and Soldiers and their Families rushed to embrace each other.
"It just hit me as I was walking in that I was really home," said Spc. Timothy Darrow, for whom this had been his first deployment. "Now we have a lot to do."

Darrow explained that he and his fiancAfAe, Caitlin, were planning to marry in April.

"I am glad he got to use the training he got," she said, explaining that they would have married already if not for the deployment. "But it's all part of God's plan. I feel A-plus right now."

For Sgt. Micah Peters, his Family reunion was also his first opportunity to meet his six-month-old son, Gabriel.

"The hardest part about this deployment was not getting to meet him and to leave this guy," he said, also referring to his older son, Micah, 2. Peters previously deployed with the 201st MI Battalion, another subordinate unit of the 470th MI Brigade.

When asked how she felt after her husband's return, Peters' wife, Shannon, said, "Relieved, very relieved."

After the returning Soldiers complete "warrior reintegration," they will have a chance for leave. These Soldiers comprise roughly one-third of the 14th MI Battalion, the remainder of which expects to redeploy stateside in two increments over the next several months.

Capt. Chad Wetherill, the battalion's rear detachment commander, noted that this phased redeployment was in line with the "responsible drawdown" of U.S. forces in Iraq.

He said that as the 14th MI Battalion's presence becomes smaller, the Joint Interrogation and Debriefing Center will transition to a Joint Interrogation and Debriefing Detachment.

"By the time their replacements arrive, the 14th MI Battalion will be prepared to hand over a new, streamlined organization," said Wetherill.

"Meanwhile, operations continue for the battalion in Iraq. Interrogators continue to work with detainees, the document and media exploitation section continues to evaluate evidence collected, and the fusions sections continue to integrate information."

The battalion is a subordinate unit of the 470th MI Brigade, which provides operational intelligence support to U.S. military commands in various locations around the world.

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