Welcome home, 'Dirty Bombs!'
March 1, 2013
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - Family members and "Iron Dragons" of the 110th Chemical Battalion (Technical Escort), 9th Chemical Company welcomed their CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive) Response Team 2 "Dirty Bombs" back home to Joint Base Lewis-McChord in a redeployment ceremony Feb. 14 in the 110th battalion's headquarters building on North Fort Lewis.
The 17 Soldiers of CBRNE Response Team 2/9 deployed to the Republic of Korea almost a year ago to support U.S. and allied South Korean forces in the Korean Theater of Operations.
"We're proud of you and of the job you have done," 9th Chem. Co. commanding officer Maj. Jonathan Larmore told his returning Soldiers. "Forward deployed, alone and unafraid, you have lived the past year of your life within indirect fire range of one of our primary adversaries. You deployed 351 days ago, and within 24 hours, you established operations and moved directly into Operation Fowl Eagle. It has been nonstop since that day."
The team's mission called on them to provide technical escort services for United States Forces Korea. Technical escort missions include recognition and identification of chemical munitions, rendering those munitions safe, disposing of the munitions, conducting hazardous material response and performing confined space operations.
The soldiers of 2/9 distinguished themselves as they went about their duties with enthusiasm and a high level of professionalism.
"I think our mission went very well," said 1st Lt. Michelle Park, assistant team leader with 2/9. "Our relationship with the units out there was great. We did multiple training exercises with them and we just had a great time training."
"Your efforts are already under review at our branch headquarters," Larmore said. "Your efforts over the past year will rewrite doctrine in the way we employ technical escort forces for years to come."
The returning soldiers were also awarded "Iron Dragon" belt buckles and coins they had previously earned through an exhaustive certification process but hadn't been awarded due to their deployment.
Finally, the soldiers were released to their families-the wives, husbands, parents, and children who had eagerly awaited the opportunity to welcome their loved ones home for themselves-a perfect Valentine's Day present.
"I'm extremely happy to be home," said Spc. Andrew Sugg, an explosive ordnance disposal specialist with 2/9. "I've been away from my family for the last year. My daughter was 7 months old when I left and she's so different now."
"I'm excited to be reunited with my husband so we can finally start our lives together," said Park, a newlywed when she deployed.
"I didn't count the days until I came home until the very end. We were going on missions every week until the last few weeks when we started packing up," Sugg said. "Those last weeks just drug on. It was fun being over there, but being home is better."
"We're proud of you, thanks for a job well done, and welcome home!" Larmore said to the soldiers of 2/9.