By Staff Sgt. Nathan Akridge, 31st Air Defense ArtilleryOctober 10, 2013
FORT SILL, Okla. -- Screams of joy filled the room, echoing off the walls, and tears streamed down faces as Soldiers from 4th Battalion, 3rd Air Defense Artillery returned from a yearlong overseas deployment.
Following remarks and the official welcome home, the Soldiers jubiliation joined that of their families, friends and co-workers and Lawton-Fort Sill area veterans who all gathered to celebrate their return home.
Banners covered the wall and families waved signs as the Soldiers marched into the Rinehart Fitness Center gym here.
The Soldiers just returned from a yearlong mission in the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility.
Maj. Andy Buissereth, 4-3rd ADA rear-detachment commander, said detachment personnel provided key assistance to the deployed Soldiers' families through the deployment.
"When families needed administrative assistance under a time constraint, they came to the unit for guidance and answers, which we were able to provide," said Buissereth. "If a family member had an emergency and needed to contact the deployed service member immediately, we made contact with that unit. The family outreach contacted the Soldiers' families and visited homes at the Soldiers' request. Additionally, they notified families of special events and programs such as the Thanksgiving and Christmas food vouchers. We continued the FRG meetings, which provided deployment support information for families; held a family readiness group Christmas party."
Buissereth added throughout the entire deployment, 4-3rd ADA had a one-team, one-fight mentality.
"As is the nature of our branch, the unit worked together as one from multiple locations, not just downrange, but across the globe," he said. "We did it well. There was no "us versus them" or "deployers versus nondeployers" mentality. There's only one team."
Buissereth added with all the Soldiers coming home, change is inevitable.
"It's good to have the family back home," he added. "There will be many hard goodbyes as people transition, but the oldest Air Defense unit in the United States Army, 4-3 Air Defense Artillery, will continue to push forward."