FORT BRAGG, N.C. (Dec. 22, 2011) The U.S. Army Forces Command commander, Gen. David M. Rodriguez, was on hand today to welcome home Soldiers of the XVIII Airborne Corps and 82nd Airborne Division, including Lt. Gen. Frank Helmick and Command Sgt. Maj. Earl Rice, commander and command sergeant major respectively of the XVIII Airborne Corps.

The troops were returning from a deployment in Iraq, where Helmick had served as deputy commanding general for operations, U.S. Forces-Iraq.

"You have set the conditions for Iraq to become a free nation," Gen. Rodriguez told redeployed Soldiers. "And you move all the personnel and equipment out after almost nine years of war. There was nothing easy about that.

He also offered special thanks to the rear detachment units, local community leaders, and the family and friends who helped support those Soldiers from home.

Rodriguez concluded his brief remarks by saying, "Welcome home. Have a happy, safe holiday season. Now let's get on with this celebration."

The Soldiers were then dismissed to enjoy a happy reunion with their loved ones waiting nearby.

Page last updated Thu December 22nd, 2011 at 00:00