By Anna StaatzNovember 14, 2008
In a few weeks the sparkling new hallways at Whitside Barracks will be muddied by the boots of Soldiers in the 1st Infantry Division's Combat Aviation Brigade, back at Fort Riley after a 15-month deployment to Iraq. But Nov. 7, Family Readiness Group members of the 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment, filled the halls to prepare rooms for the Soldiers' arrival. Members of the battalion's FRGs filled the rooms of about 100 single Soldiers with food, towels and toiletry items.
"This is an opportunity for the FRG to let our single Soldiers know we have been thinking of them and to welcome them home," said Maj. Joshua Berryhill, battalion rear detachment commander.
Items were donated to the FRGs when other organizations learned of the looming redeployment. A grocery store in Clay Center donated frozen food, such as pizzas and microwave dinners, said Nicole Woodall, Company B FRG leader. Some of the toiletry items came from a Sunday school class.
For the FRG members, preparing rooms for the battalion's single Soldiers meant being one step closer to welcoming home their own Soldiers. This was the fifth deployment for Stacy Neumann and her husband, Maj. Patrick Davis.
"It doesn't matter how many homecomings you go through, it is always exciting," Neumann said.
She and Davis plan to spend his block leaving following redeployment in several places.
"We're going to Las Vegas first for a few days," Neumann said. "Hopefully, we'll be able to go skiing and we will go see our Families over the holidays as well."
Members of the CAB will return to Fort Riley during the next few weeks after deploying from Fort Riley in September 2007. The brigade operated from six separate forward operating bases in northern Iraq.
Soldiers supported ground troops and operations; guarded convoys, performed medical evacuations and conducted reconnaissance operations, all part of a larger effort to assist the Iraqi government in improving internal security, fostering economic growth and improving infrastructure development.
During its deployment, the brigade oversaw the operation and maintenance of 200 manned and unmanned aircraft. The brigade's Soldiers conducted nearly 18,000 missions, identifying and engaging enemy targets 300 times. CAB Soldiers also were responsible for the discovery or defeat of 56 improvised explosive devices and the destruction of more than 125 insurgent vehicles and structures.
In addition, the brigade was responsible for transporting more than 91,000 personnel and about 4,000 tons of cargo around Multi-National Division - North.