• Col. Pierre Gervais, 470th Military Intelligence Brigade commander, addresses the Soldiers of the 14th MI Battalion before they board buses to take them from the air terminal at Lackland Air Force Base to Fort Sam Houston. "You are very important to us," he said. "Remember those bonds you've built." The battalion returned to San Antonio Oct. 21 after a year in Afghanistan. (U.S. Army photo by Gregory Ripps)

    First Welcome

    Col. Pierre Gervais, 470th Military Intelligence Brigade commander, addresses the Soldiers of the 14th MI Battalion before they board buses to take them from the air terminal at Lackland Air Force Base to Fort Sam Houston. "You are very important to...

  • Full of anticipation, family members in the bleachers watch for their Soldiers as the 14th Military Intelligence Battalion forms up in the Fort Sam Houston Teen Center gymnasium. (U.S. Army photo by Gregory Ripps)

    Anticipation

    Full of anticipation, family members in the bleachers watch for their Soldiers as the 14th Military Intelligence Battalion forms up in the Fort Sam Houston Teen Center gymnasium. (U.S. Army photo by Gregory Ripps)

  • The 14th Military Intelligence Battalion renders honor to the U.S. flag during the playing of the national anthem. The battalion returned to Fort Sam Houston Oct. 21 after a year in Afghanistan. (U.S. Army photo by Gregory Ripps)

    Salute

    The 14th Military Intelligence Battalion renders honor to the U.S. flag during the playing of the national anthem. The battalion returned to Fort Sam Houston Oct. 21 after a year in Afghanistan. (U.S. Army photo by Gregory Ripps)

  • Col. Pierre Gervais, 470th Military Intelligence Brigade commander, leads a round of applause for the returning Soldiers of the 14th MI Battalion. (U.S. Army photo by Gregory Ripps)

    Applause

    Col. Pierre Gervais, 470th Military Intelligence Brigade commander, leads a round of applause for the returning Soldiers of the 14th MI Battalion. (U.S. Army photo by Gregory Ripps)

  • A Soldier and his wife kiss after the 14th Military Intelligence Battalion is dismissed to join their families. (U.S. Army photo by Gregory Ripps)

    Kiss

    A Soldier and his wife kiss after the 14th Military Intelligence Battalion is dismissed to join their families. (U.S. Army photo by Gregory Ripps)

  • A Soldier hugs a loved one following dismissal of 14th Military Intelligence Battalion members. (U.S. Army photo by Gregory Ripps)

    Hugs

    A Soldier hugs a loved one following dismissal of 14th Military Intelligence Battalion members. (U.S. Army photo by Gregory Ripps)

  • A Soldier and a loved one embrace following his return to Fort Sam Houston Oct. 21 after a year in Afghanistan. (U.S. Army photo by Gregory Ripps)

    Embrace

    A Soldier and a loved one embrace following his return to Fort Sam Houston Oct. 21 after a year in Afghanistan. (U.S. Army photo by Gregory Ripps)

  • A corporal reunites with family members after her redeployment from Afghanistan with the 14th Military Intelligence Battalion. (U.S. Army photo by Gregory Ripps)

    Reunites

    A corporal reunites with family members after her redeployment from Afghanistan with the 14th Military Intelligence Battalion. (U.S. Army photo by Gregory Ripps)

FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- The 14th Military Intelligence Battalion returned here in the early morning of Oct. 21 after deploying to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom one year ago.

Earlier in the day, the battalion disembarked from a chartered airliner at the Kelly Field Annex, Lackland Air Force Base, before boarding buses for the Fort Sam Houston Teen Center. Inside the gym their families waited to greet them with colorful signs and balloons.

As the Soldiers entered the gymnasium and fell into formation, applause and cheers resounded.

Col. Pierre Gervais, 470th MI Brigade commander, briefly addressed the returning Soldiers of the brigade's subordinate battalion, quickly listing some of their accomplishments during their interrogation mission.

"You've done absolutely fantastic," he said. "We're very proud of what you've done."

With the short ceremony over, the Soldiers received the command "Dismissed!" but the family members were the first to move, springing from the bleachers to embrace their Soldier.

Staff Sgt. Kenneth Lebowitz's wife and six-year-old daughter had traveled from their home out of state to greet him.

"The first thing I want to do is spend time together," he said as he held them closely. This had been his fourth overseas deployment since joining the Army but his first deployment with the 14th MI Battalion.

For Sgt. Felix Contreras, it was his second year-long deployment with the 14th; his first was to Iraq in 2009-2010.

"I first felt I was really back home when I was holding my family," he said as he embraced his wife, Irene, and their two little boys.

"I'm holding onto the moment and enjoying my family," she said.

Lt. Col. Kris Arnold, 14th MI Battalion commander, said it felt "incredible" to be home as he stood surrounded by his wife and daughters.

"The battalion did a fantastic job while they were deployed," he said. "They truly set the standard high."

The 14th MI Battalion primarily consists of interrogators and information analysts. During the deployment they conducted detainee screening and interrogation, document and media exploitation, and intelligence analysis, to provide timely intelligence to commanders in support of the International Stabilization Force in Afghanistan.

Returning Soldiers will perform some "reintegration" training during their first week at home. However, they will then have 30 days of leave before resuming their military duties.

The battalion is scheduled to inactivate before the end of the fiscal year.

Page last updated Tue October 23rd, 2012 at 09:57