Soldiers reunite with Family
March 15, 2013
FORT BENNING, Ga. (March 13, 2013) -- The 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team landed at Fort Benning Thursday following a nine-month deployment to Kuwait. More than 150 Soldiers came home on the flight, the final one in a series of eight that brought home about 2,000 warriors.
"I am extremely excited he's back," said Lesley Mufalli, wife of Maj. Justin Mufalli. "So are the girls."
The couple have 6-year-old twins, Olivia and Evelynn, and a 3-year-old daughter, Apalonia. When Mufalli returned home, all four were ready to greet him -- a reunion of "pure excitement and joy," he said.
The brigade chaplain, Maj. Jeff Bailey, kept in touch with his Family throughout the deployment, catching glimpses of their newborn son, Joshua, through online video. He held the 7-month-old for the first time Thursday, an experience he described as "awesome."
"I'm looking forward to the next couple days of actually getting to interact with him," he said. "It will be fun."
During the deployment, Soldiers in the Sledgehammer Brigade partnered with Kuwaiti land forces for joint training to strengthen the bond between the two nations.
"Our Soldiers were motivated throughout the entire nine months," said Col. Johnnie Johnson Jr., brigade commander. "We accomplished a lot."
Working with the Kuwaitis was one of the highlights of the mission, the colonel said.
"Having the chance to partner with the Kuwaitis and train with them was phenomenal," he said. "They're a well-trained army, and over the past nine months we had the chance to really develop a relationship with the Kuwaitis and to forward that relationship. It was really rewarding working with their army."
Now that they're home, Sledgehammer Soldiers are focusing on readjusting to life as usual with about 30 days of block leave. That's the new primary mission -- "getting back with our Families," Johnson said.