By Lisa R. RhodesFebruary 19, 2010
Staff Sgt. Brien Vorhees wouldn't mind serving longer in Iraq if it weren't for being separated from his wife, Aimee, and his 3-year-old daughter, Lily.
"It's good to be home," said Vorhees, one of 17 Soldiers from the 55th Signal Company (Combat Camera) who returned Saturday from a 7-month deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The detachment of Soldiers arrived at Reagan National Airport throughout the day and were greeted by family and friends.
"It's blissful," said Lt. Ralph Jones, the detachment's commander, who was among the last Soldiers to arrive at the airport at 1:30 a.m. on Valentine's Day.
"It was good to be able to bring all my guys home safe and sound and knowing that they served honorably," Jones said.
The detachment was made up of 22 Soldiers, but five volunteered to extend their service in Iraq until the summer.
Maj. Dan C. Wood II, commander of the 55th Combat Camera, said the unit is on a continuous rotational cycle to support both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, but homecomings are always special.
A detachment of 11 Soldiers returned from a 7-month deployment from Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom on Feb. 4. The Soldiers arrived at the Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood-Marshall Airport.
"The 55th Soldiers provide combatant commanders with directed imagery capability that supports their tactical, operational and strategic objectives," Wood said. "The Soldiers capture both high definition still and video imagery that is distributed through just about every major news and commercial media outlet."
The Soldiers on both deployments documented imagery for combat and humanitarian support missions.
The Soldiers deployed to Iraq served as part of the Joint Combat Camera Iraq, which was headquartered in Baghdad.
Jones said his Soldiers worked in two-man teams at 12 forward operating bases throughout Iraq.
Vorhees, a combat documentation and production specialist, took still photographs as part of a two-man team with 1st Battalion, 10th Field Artillery.
Some of his work was documenting the progress of a provincial reconstruction team that was building roads, shopping markets, water treatment plants and water pumping stations in the Wasit province of Iraq.
Vorhees said one of his most memorable assignments was taking photographs of Army doctors and medics providing care to Iraqi children in Al Kut, one of the country's poorest villages.
"There were a lot of sick kids who wouldn't have gotten any medical attention," he said. "That touched me the most."
The Soldiers deployed to Afghanistan served as part of the Joint Combat Camera Afghanistan, which was headquartered at the Bagarm Airfield in central Afghanistan.
Lt. Rock Stevens, that detachment's commander, said his Soldiers worked in two- and three-man teams under the auspices of the Combined Joint Task Force 82, Regional Command East.
Staff Sgt. Jennifer Cohen, a broadcast journalist and the only female member of the detachment, worked with the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.