By Luke WaackDecember 22, 2008
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. - The main body of the 94th Engineer Battalion "Wolverines", 4th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, returned from a 15-month deployment to Iraq, Dec. 14, and hundreds of Soldiers were re-united with their families at Davidson Fitness Center. The post commander, Brig. Gen. Gregg Martin, Maneuver Support Center and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general, and Command Sgt. Major Michael Hayes, MANSCEN and Fort Leonard Wood, were waiting at the door to be the first to welcome the Soldiers back with high fives and handshakes, as the Wolverines filed one-by-one, into the gymnasium. "We\'re enormously proud of the 94th Engr. Bn., both the Soldiers as well as their families. It has been a really tough 15-month deployment. They have been in the thick of the fight, the toughest combat. They helped turn the tide in Iraq. We thank and honor them for the great job they did and the history they made; we thank and honor the families for their steadfastness, their faithfulness and their good support throughout the deployment," Martin said. "Of all the things we do here on the installation, this is by far the best, when we can welcome our warriors who have been away from home for 15 months and see them celebrate with their families, especially at Christmas time," Hayes said. Spc. Casey Ford was welcomed back by his wife, Kansas, and his newborn son, Jaysen. "Jaysen was born Nov. 23, and until today, Casey had only seen pictures," Kansas said. Casey had his first contact with Jaysen after the Soldiers of the 94th Engr. Bn. were released on a 24-hour pass. Casey was mostly speechless in the presence of his baby boy. "It feels pretty good," Casey said. Even though Casey was gone while she was pregnant, Kansas said she found comfort in the Family Readiness Group. "They gave me moral support, they were there for me when I was in labor. When I was home with Jaysen trying to recover, they would call and stop by to see if I needed anything," Kansas said. Before they can take time off to exclusively spend time with their friends and families, Soldiers will complete a week of re-integration processing, including medical screening, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder testing, classes on reuniting with their families, handling readjustment and much more, said Command Sgt. Major Gregory Rodgers, 4th MEB. The return of the 94th Engr. Bn. brings the first of two deployed battalions home to the 4th Maneuver Enhancement brigade, said Col. Robert Risberg, 4th MEB commander. "It is one step close to having the whole MEB family together. More importantly, it's getting these Soldiers home from 15 months of combat, back to their families. We're just happy to have them back," Risberg said.