No place like home: Dagger Brigade Soldiers continue return to Kansas
November 8, 2011
Hundreds of Soldiers from the 1st Infantry Division's 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team continued their return to the Land of Oz this week with troops from 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 63rd Armor Regiment; 1st Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment; and the brigade's command team making an appearance at the Fort Riley Redeployment Center Nov. 7.
Col. Paul Calvert and Command Sgt. Maj. Rodney Lewis presented a formation of more than 350 Dagger Soldiers to Maj. Gen. William Mayville, commanding general of the 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley, before dismissing the troops to the waiting arms of hundreds of loved ones.
"It's great to be back in this community that we love and that has supported us so well during the last year," Calvert said.
The 2nd Brigade deployed to Iraq in November 2010 to support the development of Iraq Security Forces and to "advise, train and assist" Iraqi partners. The most recent deployment was the brigade's fourth yearlong mission in Iraq.
"We helped our Iraqi partners improve their systems and attack threat networks that were presenting a challenge to the security within Baghdad and throughout the country," Calvert said.
During the Dagger Brigade's time in Iraq, the number of troops in country was significantly reduced as forces were drawn down ahead of the end of the year deadline to have all servicemembers out of Iraq. Calvert said that as the number of troops in country decreased, it became clear just how much progress has been made during the past 10 years.
"It showed the progress that we have made, it showed the progress that the Iraqi security forces have made, and it showed that the investment that we have made in that country has made a difference," the commander said.
Although more than 90 percent of his brigade is home, Calvert said he will not say the Daggers are finished with their deployment until his last Soldier walks through the doors of the Fort Riley Redeployment Center.
"I'm looking forward to getting the rest of our Soldiers back here," Calvert said. "When they are all home, then we will be 'mission accomplished.'"