MANNHEIM, Germany - The usually quiet, early morning hours of Coleman Barracks here were interrupted by loud music and even louder cheers as friends, family members and fellow Soldiers pulled themselves out of bed Feb. 14 to get to Coleman Gym and welcome home the Soldiers of Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 95th Military Police Battalion, as they returned from their 12-month deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Despite the fact the gathering was held at 2 a.m., the gym was buzzing with activity and energy as the "Superstars" made their way home.

Col. Thomas Evans, the commander of the 18th Military Police Brigade, recognized the effort and resilience of the friends and families as they waited through delays to greet their Soldiers.

"Thank you for hanging in there tonight and in the early morning hours as we bring these heroes home from Afghanistan," Evans told the crowd as they passed the last few minutes before seeing their Soldiers.

As he thanked the crowd of supporters for their patience, Evans also made a point to thank the family members for what they went through during their Soldiers' deployments.

"I thank you for your service and sacrifice," Evans told them, "because you too have served and sacrificed over the last year."

As the first Superstar Soldier marched into the gym, it was clear that any difficulties or trials from the year-long deployment were pushed to the side as the crowd gave its Soldiers a rousing welcome, drowning out the booming music with their cheers.

In an effort to get the troops back to their families as soon as possible, the formalities were kept to a minimum, but not before Lt. Col. Duane Miller, the commander of the 95th MP Bn. noted that, "I could go on all night long talking about the great things (these Soldiers) have done."

A "First Kiss Raffle" was held, giving one family the opportunity to give the first welcome home kiss to their Soldier before the entire formation was dismissed, but then the hugs and smiles that abounded were a great start to Valentine's Day for many loved ones who had been eagerly awaiting the return of their Soldiers.

"It's just nice to have him home. That's all I care about." said Kara Jacquet, who planned on just relaxing with her husband, Sgt 1st Class Jean Jacquet, the noncommissioned officer in charge of operations for the HHD, for their Valentine's Day celebration.

But, regardless of how elaborate or simple their plans for the holiday might be, friends and family members all echoed the same theme - it's just nice to have them home.

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