By Sgt. Ryan HallockApril 26, 2013
JOINT BASE LEWIS MCCHORD, Wash. - Cupid himself couldn't have planned Valentine's Day any better, even if he enlisted and donned the Army uniform. Friends, family, loved ones and the Joint Base Lewis-McChord community joined together to honor and welcome home their soldiers of the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team.
The battalions of the Lancer Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, stood proud in formation on Watkins Field at Joint Base Lewis-McChord Feb. 14.
The soldiers completed a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan and uncased its colors during a redeployment and uncasing ceremony. The 56th Army Band scored the occasion and gave the ceremony its heartbeat.
"It's indeed an honor to be here today to welcome home the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, the Lancers, back to Joint Base Lewis-McChord," said Maj. Gen. Stephen Lanza, commander of the 7th Infantry Division. "We all know the Army profession is built on a bedrock of trust. It is leadership from Col. Barry Huggins and Command Sgt. Maj. Andrew Connette that reinforces the bonds of trust soldiers have in their leaders and the trust the nation has in our Army."
The Lancers operated in the Kandahar province of Afghanistan and worked diligently to improve the lives of Afghan civilians. Huggins feels confident his brigade accomplished the commander in chief's goals, which were to prevent a sanctuary for al-Qaida in Afghanistan, transition the security lead to the Afghan Security Forces and to bring our soldiers home.
Lanza acknowledged the dedication the Lancer Brigade demonstrated downrange.
"The Lancer Brigade enabled the Afghan government to defeat the enemies of the Afghan people," said Lanza. "You have helped set the country of Afghanistan on a better path and gave the Afghan people what the Taliban never could, and that is opportunity and hope."
"A couple of years ago when I took command, I made a promise to the units on our left and right," said Huggins to the crowd and his soldiers standing in front of him. "Whenever you need us, you will not have to wonder where the Lancers are. You can count on us. Today we are back and on behalf of the Lancers I reiterate that pledge to you."
Huggins said the Lancer Brigade will take the next months to prepare for future missions and support the Leader Development and Assessment Course for ROTC cadets this summer.
"When the Lancer Brigade stepped out of their multi-cam uniforms, they closed the chapter of Operation Enduring Freedom in Lancer Brigade history," said Lanza. "It is a chapter you can be proud of. Now this great team looks forward, and they move onto their next mission in service of their country."
Seize the high ground!