ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Illinois — On Feb. 14, more than 130 Soldiers from the 485th Engineer Company, 863rd Battalion, returned to Arlington Heights, Illinois, after a nine-month deployment to Kuwait.
While deployed, the engineers were part of Task Force Iron Castle and Task Force Viper, which completed 95 construction missions on eight different bases. The company worked with active-duty counterparts from the 10th Mountain Division, Area Support Group Kuwait, Marine Special Operations, and Army Special Operations to support international partners within U.S. Central Command by providing critical engineer capabilities. The Soldiers’ missions included, among other tasks advanced drainage projects, wood and steel structures, base improvement operations, and infrastructure development to increase Soldier quality of life.
After the Soldiers were in formation, Mayor Tom Hayes, the mayor of Arlington Heights, welcomed the Soldiers home. The mayor said he had done some special events; however, nothing was more special than welcoming home the heroes from the engineer company.
“It’s been nine or 10 months since I said goodbye to all of you,” said Hayes. “I am very pleased and honored to be here today to welcome you back to our communities, and we can’t thank you enough for all that you did for the past nine or 10 months overseas.”
Prior to being dismissed to reintegrate with their Families, Brig. Gen. Martin Jung, 416th Theater Engineer Command deputy commanding general-support, said there is nothing like being welcomed on American soil.
“For the folks who are welcoming them, be proud of your Soldiers,” Jung said. “Soldiers, be proud of what you guys have done … you guys have brought security to the Middle East. If you have seen anything on the news lately, you know security and safety isn’t free.”
Jung continued “You guys have done your job, thank you. Now that your boots are on American soil, your deployment is over, your transition is not … “take a knee, take a couple of months, take the time with your Families — reintegrate. You are coming off an optempo that most Americans have never seen in their entire life and that’s going to take some transitioning. Again, welcome home, God bless you all, and God bless America.”