FORT HOOD, Texas - Braving Central Texas weather, the 1st Medical Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), held a welcome home ceremony July 8 inside Kieschnick physical fitness center for 68 returning Soldiers.

The Soldiers fell under the 21st Combat Support Hospital for their deployment which began in December 2009.

The Soldiers were a part of the Professional Filler System that the Army uses to fill voids in units for deployments. The 68 medical personnel attached themselves to the 21st CSH in Mosul, Al Asad, and Camp Speicher during their time in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

While in theater, they conducted level-three medical operations which included trauma care and other routine treatment. Upon redeployment to Fort Hood, the Soldiers dispersed back to their original duty stations.

Capt. Michael Stepp's family said they were ecstatic that the 21st CSH and 1st Med. Bde. held a formal ceremony for the troops.

"I'm so happy a ceremony happened because it's my first time experiencing this. We're all so excited," said his wife, Carol Stepp.

According to Mrs. Stepp, her husband served since the Vietnam War. In 1969 he got out of the Army to finish his degree and raise a family. Stepp reentered the service in the reserves to be an officer during the Gulf War.

He returned to active duty in 2002 at the age of 52.

"We're definitely going to go to Outback and have some juicy steaks this weekend," said Carol. "And I'm sure we'll probably have to go to Whataburger as well per his request."

In the coming months, members of the 21st CSH will gradually return from Iraq. The 1st Med. Bde. will see two units redeploy in the next two months including the 61st Multifunctional Medical Battalion in August.

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