By Spc. Michael T. CrawfordNovember 10, 2009
MARTINSBURG, W.V. (Nov. 10, 2009) Aca,!" After numerous delays, equipment failures and a detour to Iceland, Army Reserve Soldiers from the 351st Ordnance Company, 2nd platoon returned to their families Thursday after a 10-month deployment in Iraq.
Inclement weather kept the unitAca,!a,,cs plane, originally scheduled to land mid-evening Oct. 29, grounded in Germany. Soldiers with the 351st at Camp Atterbury, Ind., who were awaiting their comrades return made preparations for a smooth demobilization process, from ordering new uniforms to making beds for Soldiers to sleep in.
Aca,!A"The last thing a Soldier wants to do when they get back from deployment is make a bed,Aca,!A? said Sgt. Elizabeth Martin. Aca,!A"This way they can come home, drop their bags and just go to sleep.Aca,!A?
When the plane left Germany for the U.S., engine problems forced the plane to land in Iceland. After landing, the crew saw noticed a wing-flap had broken off and needed to be replaced. It would take at least a day for the necessary parts to arrive and the plane repaired.
Though sleep was in order, Soldiers at Camp Atterbury made preparations for the official ceremony that would take place upon the unitAca,!a,,cs return, ensuring tables, chairs and podiums were in place and transportation was ready to move the unit from the airport.
Around 9 a.m. Oct. 31, members of the 351st and 316th gathered again under a clear sky to greet the incoming unit. Around 10 a.m., the unitAca,!a,,cs plane landed and a steady flow of Soldiers marched off the plane towards a group of smiling faces.
Aca,!A"ItAca,!a,,cs a beautiful thing to be home even if itAca,!a,,cs cold,Aca,!A? said Staff Sgt. Vincent Landis, returning from his third deployment. Aca,!A"I canAca,!a,,ct wait to see my wife when I get home.Aca,!A?
After a brief stop at the customs office, Soldiers enjoyed a few moments lying on the first patch of grass they had seen in 10 months.
The unit boarded a bus ready to take them to Camp Atterbury, where they would receive awards, speeches and some sleep before beginning the demobilization process.
Around 9:30 a.m. Thursday, the platoon arrived via bus at the United States Army Reserve Center here. Stepping off the bus, Soldiers ran towards their families and friends who had gathered to welcome them home. Formalities kept to a minimum, Soldiers completed necessary forms and turned in equipment while mingling and eating with friends and family.
After finishing off the food and the paperwork, the Soldiers stood in formation outside the Reserve Center to honor Staff Sgt. William V. Spiker and Sgt. James M. Zamaris with Army Achievement Medals for their performance during pre-mobilization training.
After a safety briefing, 1st Lt. Randall B. Holmes, the platoonAca,!a,,cs acting commander during deployment, congratulated the Soldiers on a job well done and thanked the families for their support.
Aca,!A"The people of 351st Ordnance Company did an outstanding job during its deployment,Aca,!A? Holmes said. Aca,!A"They held together Aca,!A| they made me proud.Aca,!A?
Now, home at last, Soldiers will have plenty of tales to tell about the delays, damages and detours that could never keep them from their loved ones.