COB BASRA, Iraq - With the successes American and Iraqi forces have made in improving security, the 1st Infantry Division's Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion is set to participate in the continuing Responsible Drawdown of Forces.

Select Soldiers from the 1st Inf. Div. are heading home earlier than anticipated with mixed emotions about leaving their brethren behind.

"I don't want to leave my team, it's not too bad here; but at the same time though, I really want to go home," said Pfc. Antonio Morales, Operations Company, DHHB, 1st Inf. Div and native of Phoenix. "The first thing on my mind was that I have a newborn and I really want to be with him right now. I'm pretty excited about that."

The Soldiers going home early for RDoF are hard-working Soldiers who were selected to help with the redeployment of DHHB to Fort Riley said Atlanta native Sgt. 1st Class David Brock, RDoF NCOIC for Ops. Co., DHHB, 1st Inf. Div.

"Everyone has mixed emotions about going home," Brock said. "There are some people that really want to stay, but overall when they tell you that you can get to go home, it's hard to say no."

Brock said some of the Soldiers going home are getting ready to retire, have the opportunity to go to a military school, or have medical issues more treatable at home.

"The basic bottom line is the unit is taking care of us, and we all appreciate it," Brock said.

The hard work that has been put in by everyone allows the drawdown, said Lt. Col. Mark Childs, commander of DHHB, 1st Inf. Div. and Bradenton, Fla., native.

"Every Soldier leaving is mission essential. We do not want to see them go but the mission allows us to send them home," Childs said. "The real reason we are able to reduce the size of our fighting force is because of all the hard work that the U.S. forces and Iraqi forces have put in the past few years. Iraq security is now at a level that allows the reduction of our forces."