FORT HOOD, Texas - "BUS DRIVER, MOVE THAT BUS!" was what family and friends chanted as empty busses moved to reveal a very special surprise. It was not the new home one would normally expect when hearing those words; instead it was the more than 200 Soldiers from the 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) returning home from Iraq.
At nearly two in the morning, the crowd cheered, danced and cried as they saw their Heroes for the first time in nine months march across the brigade's parking lot to the beat of AC/DC's Thunderstruck, May 30.
Spouses like Kimberly Gimble, wife of Staff Sgt. Stuart Gimble, a Washington native and platoon sergeant, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 15th Special Troops Battalion, said that she was not able to see him during the deployment and this has been a long time coming.
"We didn't get an R and R, so I am really excited to see him for the first time since September," she said.
After all the formalities of a welcome home ceremony and the uncasing of the brigade's colors were through, the time to hold their loved ones had finally come for the Wagonmasters who had traveled more than 48 hours for this moment.
"Families, what are you waiting for'" asked Col. Larry Phelps, commander, 15th Sus. Bde.
"Go get your Soldier!"
The excitement and confusion filled the hot night air, as waves of troops and families met.
Many Soldiers, like Gimble, found their families quickly.
"I was super excited that my first reaction was to just jump," said Kim of the moment she first seen Gimble and leaped into his arms. "I couldn't contain myself."
It was not that easy for some and very comical for others.
"She went one way and I went to her desk," said Sgt. Ronreco Foster, an Illinois native and automated logistics special, HHC, 15th STB.
Foster who is married to Staff Sgt. Jo Ann Foster, rear detachment administration non-commissioned officer in charge, said that he knew she would probably be at her desk, so he went inside to surprise her, but not before he made a "pit-stop".
"I did look for her, I promise.
"I just missed that first reaction, because there was a slight chance that when she squeezed me, I would literally wet myself," Foster said.
Foster said that when he finally got to see her, it was an event that he would tell his grandchildren about.
"I walked around the corner. She walked around the corner and we ran smack right into each other.
"I had to do a double take just to make sure it was her before I gave her the biggest hug," Foster said.
According to Phelps, since deploying to Iraq in September, the Wagonmasters were responsible for over 7,000 Soldiers within twelve battalions; traveled over 6 million miles and provided support for 72 percent of the theater ranging from Basra to Harbur Gate.
"My focus is now on the two most important words in the English language. And that is thank you.
"Thank you to the Soldiers and their families; the 13th ESC, and especially central Texas for their support," Phelps said.
More welcome-home ceremonies for the Wagonmasters are projected for mid-June and late July. The ceremonies will be in front of the brigade's headquarters building on 62nd Street and 761st Tank Battalion Avenue, and the public is invited to attend.
Times are subject to change. Family members and friends can call the Wagonmasters redeployment hotline at (254) 287-1130 or go to www.supporttheaction.net and click on "Upcoming Events" for the latest updated information.