By Spc. Gaelen Lowers, 3rd Sustainment Bde. Public Affairs; 1st Lt. Robert W. Cowan, 135th Quartermaster CompanySeptember 17, 2009
FORT STEWART, Ga. - Nearly 200 Soldiers from the 135th Quartermaster Company, 87th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 3rd Sustainment Brigade arrived home after a yearlong deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Sept. 14.
The 135th Quartermaster Co. operated out of Contingency Operating Base Adder in the southern region of Iraq, known as Tallil. From there, the company provided multiple classes of supply and gun truck support and accumulated more than 350,000 total miles driven in almost 500 total missions.
This was the first deployment for many Soldiers of the 135th QM.
One Soldiers, Spec. Bradley Gandy, left behind his fiancAfA, Solmary Gandy, who has taken to using his last name because of their planned marriage the day after the homecoming ceremony.
"I'm feeling beyond ecstatic!" Solmary exclaimed. "It's great to have him home and safe. When he was leaving, I was scared, but I knew he would be okay and that we'd make it through. The first thing I want to do is look him in the face and make sure he is in the same condition that I left him. I'm just so happy he is home."
The wait for their loved ones was almost more than some Family Members could bear, said Ashley Brown, wife of Sgt. Colt Brown.
"I'm feeling anxious because they were supposed to be home like 10 different times now," Ashley said, "so it's surreal that it's actually happening, that they are actually going to be here."
While deployed, staying in touch was vital to easing the fears and alleviate the concerns that many Family Members had while their Soldier was deployed.
"Being able to stay in touch helped tremendously," Ashley said. "Just being able to hear his voice or get a text to know he is okay helped."
Not every Soldier had Family or friends there to welcome them home, but their return was not any less joyous.
"It feels great!" said Spec. Andrea Fogle. "It's one of the best feelings. I am just so happy to see grass."
For others, seeing their Families for the first time in months is a dream come true.
"It feels great, Lord God, it feels great to be back!" said Staff Sgt. Phillip Williams. "The first thing I wanted to do (when I got back) was hold my baby boy, and that is what I am doing," he said while squeezing his son tightly.
While thanking the Soldiers for their hard work, Brig. Gen. Patrick Donahue, 3rd Infantry Division deputy commanding general (maneuver), urged the Soldiers to be safe during their transition back.
"You escorted more than 200 convoys over dangerous grounds," said Brig. Gen. Donahue. "Now I want you to show that same discipline as you reunite with your Families."
He then said the words that the Soldiers, their Family Members and the loved ones have been waiting to hear for over a year.