• The moment had finally come as hundreds of families and friends cheered when they saw the buses carrying their Soldiers home for the first time. The 15th Sustainment Brigade redeployed more than 200 Soldiers from Iraq May 30 at Fort Hood, Texas. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Erick Ritterby)

    The moment had finally come as hundreds of...

    The moment had finally come as hundreds of families and friends cheered when they saw the buses carrying their Soldiers home for the first time. The 15th Sustainment Brigade redeployed more than 200 Soldiers from Iraq May 30 at Fort Hood, Texas. (U.S...

  • Col. Larry Phelps, commander, 15th Sus. Bde., 13th  ESC. speaks to the 200 plus Soldiers that returned home from Iraq after nine months, here May 30.  (U.S. Army photo by Cpl. Jessica Hampton, 15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs)

    Col. Larry Phelps, commander, 15th Sus. Bde...

    Col. Larry Phelps, commander, 15th Sus. Bde., 13th ESC. speaks to the 200 plus Soldiers that returned home from Iraq after nine months, here May 30. (U.S. Army photo by Cpl. Jessica Hampton, 15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs)

  • A family member runs to her Soldier during the 15th Sus. Bde. welcome home ceremony held at the brigade's headquarters building, here May 30.  (U.S. Army photo by Cpl. Jessica Hampton, 15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs)

    A family member runs to her Soldier during the...

    A family member runs to her Soldier during the 15th Sus. Bde. welcome home ceremony held at the brigade's headquarters building, here May 30. (U.S. Army photo by Cpl. Jessica Hampton, 15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs)

  • Kimberly Gimble, wife of Staff Sgt. Stuart Gimble, PSD platoon sergeant, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 15th Special Troops Battalion, 15th Sus. Bde., 13th ESC, jumps into his arms after the Soldiers arrival the 15th Sus. Bde. welcome home ceremony held at the brigade's headquarters building, here May 30.  (U.S. Army photo by Cpl. Jessica Hampton, 15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs)

    Kimberly Gimble, wife of Staff Sgt. Stuart...

    Kimberly Gimble, wife of Staff Sgt. Stuart Gimble, PSD platoon sergeant, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 15th Special Troops Battalion, 15th Sus. Bde., 13th ESC, jumps into his arms after the Soldiers arrival the 15th Sus. Bde. welcome home...

  • Col. Larry Phelps and Command Sgt. Maj. Nathaniel J. Bartee Sr., the command team for the 15th Sustainment Brigade, uncased the unit's colors before a crowd of hundreds at the brigade headquarters building. The Wagonmasters redeployed more than 200 Soldiers from Iraq May 30 at Fort Hood, Texas. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Erick Ritterby)

    Col. Larry Phelps and Command Sgt. Maj...

    Col. Larry Phelps and Command Sgt. Maj. Nathaniel J. Bartee Sr., the command team for the 15th Sustainment Brigade, uncased the unit's colors before a crowd of hundreds at the brigade headquarters building. The Wagonmasters redeployed more than 200...

  • A junior "Wagonmaster" waves her flags in anticipation of her Soldier's arrival to the 15th Sus. Bde. welcome home ceremony held at the brigade's headquarters building, here May 30.  (U.S. Army photo by Cpl. Jessica Hampton, 15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs)

    A junior "Wagonmaster" waves her flags in...

    A junior "Wagonmaster" waves her flags in anticipation of her Soldier's arrival to the 15th Sus. Bde. welcome home ceremony held at the brigade's headquarters building, here May 30. (U.S. Army photo by Cpl. Jessica Hampton, 15th Sustainment Brigade...

  • A Soldier scoops up his daughter after spending nine months away from home. The 15th Sustainment Brigade redeployed more than 200 Soldiers from Iraq May 30 at Fort Hood, Texas. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Erick Ritterby)

    A Soldier scoops up his daughter after spending...

    A Soldier scoops up his daughter after spending nine months away from home. The 15th Sustainment Brigade redeployed more than 200 Soldiers from Iraq May 30 at Fort Hood, Texas. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Erick Ritterby)

  • A Soldier sneaks a kiss in from her loved one after spending nine months away from 
home. The 15th Sustainment Brigade redeployed more than 200 Soldiers from Iraq May 30 at Fort Hood, Texas. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Erick Ritterby)

    A Soldier sneaks a kiss in from her loved one...

    A Soldier sneaks a kiss in from her loved one after spending nine months away from home. The 15th Sustainment Brigade redeployed more than 200 Soldiers from Iraq May 30 at Fort Hood, Texas. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Erick Ritterby)

  • An Army officer enjoys a hug with his daughter after spending nine months away from home. The 15th Sustainment Brigade redeployed more than 200 Soldiers from Iraq May 30 at Fort Hood, Texas. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Erick Ritterby)

    An Army officer enjoys a hug with his daughter...

    An Army officer enjoys a hug with his daughter after spending nine months away from home. The 15th Sustainment Brigade redeployed more than 200 Soldiers from Iraq May 30 at Fort Hood, Texas. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Erick Ritterby)

  • The mass formation saluted the American flag during the National Anthem before they were released to their families. The 15th Sustainment Brigade redeployed more than 200 Soldiers from Iraq May 30 at Fort Hood, Texas. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Erick Ritterby)

    The mass formation saluted the American flag...

    The mass formation saluted the American flag during the National Anthem before they were released to their families. The 15th Sustainment Brigade redeployed more than 200 Soldiers from Iraq May 30 at Fort Hood, Texas. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class...

  • Despite the late hour, the USO helped kept hundreds of kids with motivated with food, drinks, and music as they awaited their parents return home. The moment had finally come as hundreds of families and friends cheered when they saw the buses carrying their Soldiers home for the first time. The 15th Sustainment Brigade redeployed more than 200 Soldiers from Iraq May 30 at Fort Hood, Texas. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Erick Ritterby)

    Despite the late hour, the USO helped kept...

    Despite the late hour, the USO helped kept hundreds of kids with motivated with food, drinks, and music as they awaited their parents return home. The moment had finally come as hundreds of families and friends cheered when they saw the buses carrying...

  • Troops formed up as soon as they got off the buses and saluted the American flag as it was uncased before they marched forward to their families and friends across the street. The 15th Sustainment Brigade redeployed more than 200 Soldiers from Iraq May 30 at Fort Hood, Texas. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Erick Ritterby)

    Troops formed up as soon as they got off the...

    Troops formed up as soon as they got off the buses and saluted the American flag as it was uncased before they marched forward to their families and friends across the street. The 15th Sustainment Brigade redeployed more than 200 Soldiers from Iraq May...

  • It was nearly two in the morning and they had traveled for than 48 hours but these Soldiers were wide awake as they stepped off the busses. The 15th Sustainment Brigade redeployed more than 200 Soldiers from Iraq May 30 at Fort Hood, Texas. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Erick Ritterby)

    It was nearly two in the morning and they had...

    It was nearly two in the morning and they had traveled for than 48 hours but these Soldiers were wide awake as they stepped off the busses. The 15th Sustainment Brigade redeployed more than 200 Soldiers from Iraq May 30 at Fort Hood, Texas. (U.S. Army...

  • Aaron Tyler, a warrant officer with the 4th Sustainment Brigade, 13th ESC.  holds daughter, Felicity and a homemade sign in anticipation of the arrival of their Soldier, Capt. Shuanita Tyler during the 15th Sus. Bde. welcome home ceremony 
held at the brigade's headquarters building, here May 30.  (U.S. Army photo by Cpl. Jessica Hampton, 15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs)

    Aaron Tyler, a warrant officer with the 4th...

    Aaron Tyler, a warrant officer with the 4th Sustainment Brigade, 13th ESC. holds daughter, Felicity and a homemade sign in anticipation of the arrival of their Soldier, Capt. Shuanita Tyler during the 15th Sus. Bde. welcome home ceremony held at the...

FORT HOOD, Texas - "BUS DRIVER, MOVE THAT BUS!" was what family and friends chanted as empty busses moved to reveal a very special surprise. It was not the new home one would normally expect when hearing those words; instead it was the more than 200 Soldiers from the 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) returning home from Iraq.

At nearly two in the morning, the crowd cheered, danced and cried as they saw their Heroes for the first time in nine months march across the brigade's parking lot to the beat of AC/DC's Thunderstruck, May 30.

Spouses like Kimberly Gimble, wife of Staff Sgt. Stuart Gimble, a Washington native and platoon sergeant, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 15th Special Troops Battalion, said that she was not able to see him during the deployment and this has been a long time coming.

"We didn't get an R and R, so I am really excited to see him for the first time since September," she said.

After all the formalities of a welcome home ceremony and the uncasing of the brigade's colors were through, the time to hold their loved ones had finally come for the Wagonmasters who had traveled more than 48 hours for this moment.

"Families, what are you waiting for'" asked Col. Larry Phelps, commander, 15th Sus. Bde.

"Go get your Soldier!"

The excitement and confusion filled the hot night air, as waves of troops and families met.

Many Soldiers, like Gimble, found their families quickly.

"I was super excited that my first reaction was to just jump," said Kim of the moment she first seen Gimble and leaped into his arms. "I couldn't contain myself."

It was not that easy for some and very comical for others.

"She went one way and I went to her desk," said Sgt. Ronreco Foster, an Illinois native and automated logistics special, HHC, 15th STB.

Foster who is married to Staff Sgt. Jo Ann Foster, rear detachment administration non-commissioned officer in charge, said that he knew she would probably be at her desk, so he went inside to surprise her, but not before he made a "pit-stop".

"I did look for her, I promise.

"I just missed that first reaction, because there was a slight chance that when she squeezed me, I would literally wet myself," Foster said.

Foster said that when he finally got to see her, it was an event that he would tell his grandchildren about.

"I walked around the corner. She walked around the corner and we ran smack right into each other.

"I had to do a double take just to make sure it was her before I gave her the biggest hug," Foster said.

According to Phelps, since deploying to Iraq in September, the Wagonmasters were responsible for over 7,000 Soldiers within twelve battalions; traveled over 6 million miles and provided support for 72 percent of the theater ranging from Basra to Harbur Gate.

"My focus is now on the two most important words in the English language. And that is thank you.

"Thank you to the Soldiers and their families; the 13th ESC, and especially central Texas for their support," Phelps said.

More welcome-home ceremonies for the Wagonmasters are projected for mid-June and late July. The ceremonies will be in front of the brigade's headquarters building on 62nd Street and 761st Tank Battalion Avenue, and the public is invited to attend.

Times are subject to change. Family members and friends can call the Wagonmasters redeployment hotline at (254) 287-1130 or go to www.supporttheaction.net and click on "Upcoming Events" for the latest updated information.

Page last updated Mon June 14th, 2010 at 16:05