Lancer command team returns to JBLM
January 31, 2013
Spc. Glen Shackley, 7th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - Screams of excitement echoed off the cinder block walls of North Fort's Wilson Gym, Jan. 16, as nearly 300 soldiers from 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, stood before hundreds of their family, friends and fellow soldiers during a Welcome Home ceremony.
Col. Barry Huggins, commander of 2nd Bde., 2nd Inf. Div., stood in front of his Soldiers as the Chaplain gave an invocation. Command Sgt. Maj. Andrew Connette, 2-2 SBCT command sergeant major, also accompanied the Soldiers on the return flight. After the Chaplain's words were spoken, Huggins turned and dismissed the formation without saying any words.
The frenzy began- wives jumping into the arms of their husbands, children pleading and tugging to be held and, of course, tears of joy and relief.
The Lancer brigade deployed last May for a nine-month tour, and covered nine districts in southern Afghanistan's Kandahar province as Combined Task Force Lancer. The brigade's mission, according to a pamphlet handed out at the ceremony, was to "enable the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to defeat the enemies environment in order to prevent the reemergence of a sanctuary for enemies of the United States."
Some of the brigade's key accomplishments over the deployment included enabling Afghan independence throughout a battle space of more than 13,400 square kilometers; bringing Afghan National Security Forces in the lead in two districts in Kandahar and Arghandab; and facilitating numerous special operations' missions resulting in 315 enemy detainees.
Overall, the Lancers conducted 6,676 independent patrols and 6,597 joint ANSF-International Security Assistance Force patrols. During that same time, ANSF conducted more than 60,000 independent patrols- a true testament to the training they received from soldiers within the brigade.
Additionally, operations conducted over the span of nine-months resulted in the find of 1,634 IEDs and 4,445 pounds of homemade explosives, preventing future attacks against ANSF and ISAF members. CTF Lancer conducted more than 320 shuras with key government officials and local elders.
But now it was time to be with family and, for some, to meet their newest family members.
Jennifer Swanson stood in the crowd, anxiously waiting her husband's return, with her five kids- Krysta, Kevin, Kailey, Kinah, and Kinzie. This homecoming was extra special for the Swansons though because it would be the first time her husband, 1st Lt. Travis Swanson, a brigade security officer, would be meeting Kinzie. Kinzie was born two-and-a-half-months ago, while Swanson was still downrange.
"I'm super excited to see him," Jennifer said. The couple has stayed in touch daily through Facebook, and through phone calls when he could get to a phone. But nothing can compare to the moment where she can be, once again, safely in his arms, she said.
"I just want to tell him 'I love you and I'm so glad you're home,'" she said, and she got the chance to do just that.