By Sgt. Grant Matthes (101st Airborne)February 7, 2014
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (Feb. 7, 2014) -- Members of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) command group returned to Fort Campbell, Ky., Feb. 7, following a 12-month tour in Afghanistan.
"It feels great to be home, Maj. Gen. James C. McConville, the Division commander said. "We are very blessed with an incredible community that supports this Division, unlike any other place I've been, and you saw today, they're all out there in the cold weather, they're always here, they always support us and there is truly no better place to serve in the United States Army."
The Division colors were also uncased by McConville and Sgt. Maj. Alonzo J. Smith, the Division command sergeant major during a ceremony held immediately after their arrival.
The Division's colors being uncased signifies the completion of the unit's overseas mission and their return to garrison operations.
"I think that the Army and the country's always going to need a highly trained, disciplined and fit Air Assault force, and the 101st Airborne Division has a very proud history," McConville said. It's one of the forces that's always called upon to do the toughest jobs and I expect it to be that way in the future."
Also in attendance for the ceremony was Under Secretary of the Army Joseph W. Westphal to support the command group upon their return.
Westphal commented that "They [The 101st Airborne Division] have had a very effective time in Afghanistan doing some very important work."
He spoke of the Division's role in helping the Afghan National Army grow their capacity and capability to defend their country and that the Division was instrumental in the continued success of the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.
The Division took over Regional Command-East Mar. 14, 2013, and was in charge of 14 of Afghanistan's provinces.
"I am very, very proud of what our Soldiers did over in Afghanistan, and this was a very important time in the history of Afghanistan because during this last year, the Afghan Security Forces took the lead for security of Regional Command-East for the first time," McConville said. "During this time, they were fully responsible for the security and during this fighting season, the Afghan Security Forces believed that they defeated the enemy, and I tend to agree."
McConville said that despite the return of the Division headquarters, the Soldiers of the 101st are still making an impact with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team "Strike," and the 159th Combat Aviation Brigade currently deployed to Afghanistan.