By Loran D. Doane, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, Public AffairsSeptember 28, 2009
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Family and friends of approximately 1,050 "Broncos" from the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT), 25th Infantry Division (ID), are celebrating their Soldiers' return from Iraq after a successful yearlong deployment.
Four flights of arrivals landed at Hickam Air Force Base, Sept. 19-22. They are the first of the unit's returning main body, comprising roughly a third of the 3,400 Soldiers returning home before the Christmas holidays.
The "Bronco Brigade" Soldiers served in the Salah ad Din Province in northern Iraq, an area about the size of the state of Hawaii.
The brigade was instrumental in helping the Iraqi government during a pivotal period of security and governmental transition and infrastructure reconstruction.
The Soldiers return home with 230 projects completed and 140 more in progress that are vital to the economic revitalization of the burgeoning nation.
The Soldiers' efforts are affording the people of Iraq with a better quality of life by providing them with better power distribution and infrastructure, 67 new and renovated educational facilities, transportation projects to improve road and rail systems, and the revitalization of market areas to stimulate economic growth.
The 3rd IBCT implemented the 2008 security agreement, which mandated the transfer of leadership and control of security operations to the Iraqi government, validating 33 Iraqi Police Stations, to enable Iraqi security forces to operate independent of coalition forces, expanding the capacity of local judicial systems, and training Iraqi personnel in forensic testing.
In addition, 3rd IBCT made major improvements to the health care system by improving hospitals and clinics across the province, holding more than 100 training events for Iraqi medical personnel, certifying 97 Iraqi emergency management technicians before transferring the program to qualified Iraqi instructors, coordinating medical conferences, and presenting case studies for doctors at the Tikrit Teaching Hospital.
"Everyone has been looking forward to this day for a long time," said Maj. John Sego, 3rd IBCT rear detachment commander. "When these Soldiers deployed, they left behind a lot of family and friends who have missed them very much. We have a lot of catching up to do."
Homecoming ceremonies are continuing to take place at Wheeler Army Airfield. Family and friends wishing to welcome Soldiers home are encouraged check the 25th ID Web site, www.25idl.army.mil, for the latest ceremony updates.
Individuals with military ID cards and installation vehicle decals may enter Wheeler through Kawamura and Kunia Gates. Individuals without military ID are required to report to Lyman Gate at Schofield Barracks to obtain a visitor's pass.
Individuals should allow additional travel time for installation access and be prepared to show valid photo ID, automobile registration and proof of insurance.
Driving directions to the ceremony site will be available at gate entrances.