By Ms. Esther Garcia (IMCOM)January 23, 2009
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Excitement was in the air as wives, husbands, aunts, nieces, nephews, sisters, brothers, grandmothers, and babies carrying red, white and blue balloons, small U.S. flags, flowers and welcome signs filled the Roadrunner Community Center Jan. 15 waiting for the arrival of the 591st Medical Logistics Company. After 15 months in Iraq, more than 80 Soldiers were coming home. As the Soldiers entered through a side door of the Army Community Service building, they were greeted by a receiving line consisting of Brig. Gen. James Gilman, commanding general, Great Plains Regional Medical Command and Brooke Army Medical Center; Col. Mary Garr, commander, U.S. Army Garrison; Col. Richard Gullickson, commander, 21st Combat Support Hospital; Lt. Col. Keith Rigdon, commander, 61st Multi-functional Medical Battalion; Great Plains Regional Medical Command and BAMC Sgt. Maj. Donna Simmons; Fort Sam Houston Chaplain Gil Richardson; and U.S. Army Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Pedro Class. Marching on stage the ceremony began with the National Anthem by the Army Medical Command Band and the invocation by Chaplain Richardson. "They did a great job," said Gilman, host for the ceremony. Gilman continued, "We have the best equipped, best trained, best led Army the world has ever know, and it has resulted in the best supported Army medically the world has ever known. The result of that is the lowest rate of deaths from wounds seen in any major combat." Gilman said these are the Soldiers responsible for the inspection and maintenance of medical equipment without, which the doctors and nurses could not function. "They are the unsung heroes of the U.S. Army Medical Department. Nobody appreciates them anymore than I do, said Gilman. I can\'t tell you how important their job is." The 591st MLC deployed November 2007. The unit received, stocked and shipped medical items, ran a single and multi-vision optical lens fabrication and repair lab, and provided a medical maintenance shop for customers assigned to missions supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. During the unit's 15-month deployment, the company reported servicing more than 400 different units on a monthly basis. The Families were just glad to have them home safe and sound. Spc. Kevin White's Family, who came from Dallas, included his mother, sister, cousin and aunt. "I missed him terribly and I am glad to have him home," said his mother, Lisa Hartford. Kevin is her only son. "His Dad and I work for the City of Dallas, and the entire city is waiting for him." "It has been a long journey," said Staff Sgt. Jorge Perez, whose 3-year-old son could not stop touching his face.