FORT HOOD, Texas - The long bus ride from Fort Sill, Okla. to Fort Hood, Texas ended just past midnight, but their mission in Haiti ended days before that.
After spending nearly two months helping the people of Haiti recover from a devastating earthquake, 29 Soldiers from three different units within the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) returned home to a warm welcome inside the Kieschnick physical fitness center Mar. 28.
The Soldiers, members of the 4th Sustainment Brigade and 1st Medical Brigade, deployed to the Caribbean island shortly after the Jan. 12 quake, which killed an estimated 230,000 people. The 502nd Human Resources Company was one of those three units who deployed a platoon of Soldiers in support of Operation Unified Response Feb 8.
The 502nd Postal Platoon set up and ran an Army Post Office to provide mail to U.S. service members supporting humanitarian efforts and disaster relief operations in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. In fact, the 502nd delivered the first personal mail from the United States to American troops throughout the country.
"They received and distributed more than 5,000 bags of mail," said Maj. Susan Manion, the executive officer for the 4th Brigade Troops Battalion.
Two of the units that redeployed from Haiti over the weekend belonged to the 4th Brigade Troops Battalion. The Wolfpack Battalion deployed a detachment of Soldiers from the 15th Financial Management Company Feb. 3 to set up a finance operations center in the earthquake-ravaged country.
One of those finance Soldiers was Staff Sgt. Beverly Walker who worked as a platoon sergeant while deployed in Haiti.
"I've brought back so many meaningful memories from this mission," said Walker. "I am so glad that I could help out a community of people who were in such need."
"It's a testament to their character for being willing to people elsewhere in the world," said 1st Sgt. Byron Rogers. "Besides providing casual pay for Soldiers in Haiti, our troops also handed out water and humanitarian aid to victims."
"You come to really appreciate the life you have after seeing people who have lost, in some cases, nearly everything," said Walker.
Lt. Col. John Hickey, the battalion commander, applauded his Soldiers upon their return. "You have all done an outstanding job and we are very proud of you," said Hickey.
All of the returning Wrangler Brigade Soldiers received the Humanitarian Service Medal and the Army Achievement Medal for their service.
The Silver Knights also redeployed a handful of their Soldiers from the 583rd Medical Logistics Company that night. The 583rd deployed Feb. 2 to provide medical supplies for the health professionals who cared for the victims of the earthquake. The team also fixed medical equipment in Haiti.
(Capt. Ariana Roscoe from the 4th Brigade Troops Battalion contributed to this article)