• Sergeant Eric Edwards, 293rd MP Co., 385th MP Battalion, embraces girlfriend Jennifer Russ, after his unit returned from a year-long deployment to Afghanistan, July 21.

    293rd MPs return

    Sergeant Eric Edwards, 293rd MP Co., 385th MP Battalion, embraces girlfriend Jennifer Russ, after his unit returned from a year-long deployment to Afghanistan, July 21.

  • Captain Michael Thurman, commander, 293rd Military Police Company, and Capt. James Green, a 293rd MP platoon leader, embrace as they exit the plane after landing at Hunter Army Airfield following a year-long deployment to Afghanistan, July 21.

    293rd MPs return from Afghanistan

    Captain Michael Thurman, commander, 293rd Military Police Company, and Capt. James Green, a 293rd MP platoon leader, embrace as they exit the plane after landing at Hunter Army Airfield following a year-long deployment to Afghanistan, July 21.

  • Soldiers of the 293rd Military Police Company, 385th MP Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division, march across Cottrell Field upon their arrival home from their year-long deployment in Afghanistan to the cheers of hundreds of Family Members and well wishers at Cottrell Field, July 21.

    293rd MP Co returns from Afghanistan

    Soldiers of the 293rd Military Police Company, 385th MP Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division, march across Cottrell Field upon their arrival home from their year-long deployment in Afghanistan to the cheers of hundreds of Family Members and well wishers at...

  • Vietnam Veterans from the Liberty County Chapter 789, render honors during the singing of the national anthem while holding a banner welcoming home 293rd Military Police Company, 385th MP Battalion, 3rd Infantry Divsion upon their arrival home to Fort Stewart, Ga., from their year-long deployment in Afghanistan, July 21.

    293rd MPs return from Afghanistan

    Vietnam Veterans from the Liberty County Chapter 789, render honors during the singing of the national anthem while holding a banner welcoming home 293rd Military Police Company, 385th MP Battalion, 3rd Infantry Divsion upon their arrival home to Fort...

  • First Sergeant Danny Knell is greeted by his granddaughter, Trinity, as his unit, the 293rd MP Co., 385th MP Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division, returns to Fort Stewart, Ga., from its year-long deployment to Afghanistan, July 21.

    293rd MPs return home

    First Sergeant Danny Knell is greeted by his granddaughter, Trinity, as his unit, the 293rd MP Co., 385th MP Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division, returns to Fort Stewart, Ga., from its year-long deployment to Afghanistan, July 21.

  • Sergeant Jerry Comstock, 293rd Military Police Company, 385th MP Battalion, is welcomed home by his wife, Christina, and sons Jayden, 4, and Landyn, 7, after a year-long deployment to Afghanistan, July 21.

    293rd MP Co welcomed home from OEF

    Sergeant Jerry Comstock, 293rd Military Police Company, 385th MP Battalion, is welcomed home by his wife, Christina, and sons Jayden, 4, and Landyn, 7, after a year-long deployment to Afghanistan, July 21.

<b>FORT STEWART, Ga. </b> - A year ago, the 293rd Military Police Company, 385th MP Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division, set out on a mission to Afghanistan to help train the Afghani armed forces and police. They returned home with honor and a hero's welcome from a thunderous cheering crowd of flag-waving Family Members, Soldiers and well wishers, July 21.

Before the returning Soldiers arrived at Cottrell Field, emotions and anxiety ran high among the hundreds of people waiting to welcome the Soldiers home.

"I've got butterflies in my tummy," said Rachelle Reimondo, wife of Spc. Randy Reimondo. "I am so proud of him, and I am glad it's over."

Hundreds of people who turned out for the welcome home ceremony agreed with Rachelle's feelings of joy, anxiety and relief.

"I am excited and very happy that he is coming home," said Holly Ford, wife of Spc. Cody Ford. "I am very proud of him and proud of all of our heroes, and I'm happy to have them home and safe."
For one child, she wasn't all that clear as to what was about to happen.

"She thought we were going to go talk to daddy through Skype on the computer," said Liz Prendergast wife of Spc. Robert Prendergast, referring to their two-year-old daughter Charlee. "It's been too long; we're ready for him to be home."

Unfortunately, not all of the Soldiers returning home were in attendance at Cottrell Field, which is lined by 433 Eastern Redbud trees, each planted to memorialize every Soldier of the 3rd ID, Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield, and attached units who has been killed in Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.

Staff Sergeant Christopher Rudzinski, 28, of the 293rd MP Co., was killed by enemy forces near Kandahar, Afghanistan, Oct. 16, 2009, when his vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device. Staff Sergeant Rudzinski became the 421st to be memorialized at Warriors Walk.

Although Staff Sgt. Rudzinski was absent from the formation, he was not forgotten at the welcome home ceremony.

"We wanted to be here to say 'thank you,' thank you for your service and I am glad you're home," said Col. (Ret.) Michael Rudzinski, father of Staff Sgt Rudzinski, accompanied by his wife, Natalie, Staff Sgt. Rudzinski's mother.

Before the crowd could greet the Soldiers on the field, there was a ceremony and a few brief remarks made to the audience and Soldiers.

"It took three MP companies to replace these guys," said Col. Mary Maier, 16th Military Police Brigade commander-rear, as she stood on the field between the packed bleachers of an anxious crowd and formed up Soldiers on the field as she addressed the crowd and Soldiers. "You did an awesome job and can measure your success by your daily missions."

After the intentionally brief speech, the zealous crowd stampeded their way onto the field to hug, kiss and hold their retuning Soldier.

"Oh, my God, I feel so much better (now that) he's home," said Christina Comstock, wife of Sgt. Jerry Comstock, as she held onto her husband. "I am just so relieved."

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