• Specialist Mitchell Davis with the 526th Engineer Company, holds his son, Alan, 6 months, and his daughter, Madison, 4, at the welcome home ceremony for his unit on Fort Stewart's Cottrell Field, Sept. 24. See story Page 15A

    526th Engineers return from Afghanistan

    Specialist Mitchell Davis with the 526th Engineer Company, holds his son, Alan, 6 months, and his daughter, Madison, 4, at the welcome home ceremony for his unit on Fort Stewart's Cottrell Field, Sept. 24. See story Page 15A

  • William Creech III holds up a sign welcoming home his father, Staff Sgt. William Creech, who returned home from Afghanistan with the 526th Engineer Company, at Cottrell Field on Fort Stewart, Sept. 24.

    526th Engineers return

    William Creech III holds up a sign welcoming home his father, Staff Sgt. William Creech, who returned home from Afghanistan with the 526th Engineer Company, at Cottrell Field on Fort Stewart, Sept. 24.

  • Sergeant Thomas Creager embraces his son, Thomas III, during the 526th Engineer Co. welcome home ceremony at Cottrell Field, Sept. 24.

    Engineers return from Afghanistan

    Sergeant Thomas Creager embraces his son, Thomas III, during the 526th Engineer Co. welcome home ceremony at Cottrell Field, Sept. 24.

<b>FORT STEWART, Ga. </b>- For many of the younger Family Members waiting for their loved ones to return, it was probably past their bed time, but they were allowed to stay up late to watch the 526th Engineer Company end their deployment to Afghanistan with a welcome home ceremony at Fort Stewart's Cottrell Field, Sept. 24.

The Families came out in full support with signs, banners and balloons with Americans flags on them to show their appreciation for the returning troops.

They screamed and applauded almost an hour before the troops arrived, listening anxiously to announcements on how close the troops were to the parade field.

"I'm so excited," said April Johnson, who greeted her husband, Spc. James Johnson, at the ceremony. "I'm very proud of him, because he fights for us and our country. He works very hard."
Volunteers joined the loved ones at the parade field.

"I came out here to support the troops and the Families," said Susan Simmons, who volunteered with the United Service Organization to hand out snacks at the ceremony. "I'm here to show that we're here for them whatever they need. I'd tell them thank you... thank you for your service, thank you for defending our country, and thank you for giving us our way of life."

The senior leadership of the 3rd Infantry Division rear detachment was also on hand to greet the returning unit, as Lt. Col. Christopher Love, the senior rear detachment commander, welcomed them home.

"You were essential to our success during Operation Enduring Freedom," he said. "We are proud of your accomplishments. Welcome home to a grateful nation."

Specialist Mitchell Davis, a heavy equipment operator with the unit, said he felt relieved the wait to get home was over, as he held his two children, Alan, 6 months, and Madison, 4.

"It feels awesome to be back with Family and friends," he said.

Captain Jennifers Etters, the 526th Engineer Co. commander, said her unit was responsible for numerous construction projects during their deployment.

Some of their accomplishments include laying down 177,000 square feet of AM2 matting, which is used in the construction of airfields, building living quarters for more than 500 Soldiers during their deployment, constructing roads and numerous other projects.

She was proud of her troops for how they performed in the combat zone.

"They did an outstanding job," she said. "I have some of the hardest working Soldiers. They worked from 12 to 14 hours a day and they all did whatever it took to get the mission done."
Captain Etters added every Soldier who deployed returned home to their Families that night.

Page last updated Fri October 1st, 2010 at 13:14