FORT KNOX, Ky. - Deployments can be hard on Soldiers and Family members alike, which makes reintegration time upon returning home very important.

Two months after returning from Iraq, Soldiers from Fort Knox's 3d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) have used their reintegration time to reconnect with loved ones, build resiliency and get back to the life that was once familiar to them before deploying.

The resiliency these Soldiers have built throughout their block leave and the reintegration process will help them each do their part to support the 3d ESC's missions - now and in the future.

For some, block leave meant doing chores, making home improvements or even taking the kids to school each day. But whatever the activity, 3d ESC Soldiers are working hard at getting themselves once again established in their communities, and into a familiar routine.

"Since I've been back from deployment, I've been just trying to spend as much time with my family as possible," said Sgt. Michael Roberts, a material accounting noncommissioned officer and Birmingham, Ala., native.

Roberts, whose young son will turn 2 yrs old in October, mentioned that he's lost a lot time in his child's life and is trying hard to make up for it.

"Although my son was very young when we deployed, he was aware of who I was and I considered our relationship to be very good at the time," said Roberts. "Now, since coming home, I can definitely say that he's a daddy's boy because there's not a day when he's not with me. When I wake up for PT in the mornings, he's up too, ready to go, but I have to explain that he's not able to go with me at the time."

Robert's story is similar to many Soldiers within the command. Many had newborns before the deployment and many have had children born while deployed, which makes reintegration that much more important.

But whatever the Soldiers' reintegration process, the command has backed and fully supported them through it all.

"Reintegration is key because after a deployment, it's important for Soldiers to get back into a routine with their Families," said Col. Jarrold M. Reeves Jr., the 3d ESC deputy commander and Atlanta native. "We have to understand that even though during the deployment we went without our Family's presence, they've gone without our presence for 15-months as well."

Now that the command has returned, there are plans for it to have a bigger presence throughout Fort Knox's surrounding communities due to the philosophies of its new commander, Col. Robin Akin.

In a speech to the unit, Akin explained the importance of giving back to a community that supported the Soldiers while they were deployed. She explained to her Soldiers that there is nothing wrong with telling their stories to those wanting to know throughout the community.

One of the ways Reeves has been giving back to the community is by being active at North Hardin Christian School, where his daughter attends. At NHC, Reeves is an assistant coach for his daughter's soccer team and since returning has attended several events to include speaking to the children at the school about his job as a deputy commander, and his experiences in Iraq.

"I felt that getting our faces out into the community was important from the day that I arrived here," said Reeves. I think it's key that as a member of Fort Knox we stay involved in what's going on in our surrounding community."

Within the command, there are offices being set up, and there's a refocus on training in various aspects. But with the command having such an important role in Iraq, some have wondered exactly what they would be doing back at home station.

"I'm very interested in seeing what an ESC does when it's not deployed," said Roberts about the command which managed the sustainment and distribution of all commodities and supplies in the Iraqi theater. "By being in Iraq, I saw first-hand what an ESC does, but whatever it is we're going to be focusing on, I'm just ready to get to it, and be a part of it."

Photos and story by Spc. Michael Behlin, 3d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) public affairs.
For queries, contact 3d Sustainment Command Public Affairs at: (502) 624-8601.
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