By Master Sgt. Dave Larsen, 1st Cavalry Division Public AffairsSeptember 19, 2007
CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq - "The answer to the next question is 'Don't count on it,'" joked Lt. Col. Daniel Garcia as he consulted his "special advisor" at the tail end of a live satellite feed Family Readiness Group meeting with more than 150 Family members and rear detachment troops at the Fort Hood Catering and Conference Center.
The 6:30 p.m. start time in Central Texas brought Garcia and his company commanders into the Media Operation Center here early Sept. 19 - 3:30 a.m.
Despite the "oh-dark-thirty" show time, Garcia, the commander of the 1st Cavalry Division's Special Troops Battalion, answered every question and concern of the assembled First Team Families, without the aid of his "special advisor," and discussed the redeployment and reintegration processes at length.
He detailed the much-anticipated homecoming.
"All Soldiers will be flown into the West Fort Hood airfield. They will turn in their equipment at that location and will be bussed to Cooper Field in front of the 1st Cavalry Division headquarters," explained the Long Island, N.Y., native. "It is at that location that Soldiers will be reunited with their Families. We anticipate this taking two hours."
When the First Team's DSTB returns home, they will have completed a 15-month deployment. Garcia said that because of the extended time away, reintegration training is extremely important - for Soldiers and for their Family members. He said Soldiers will be given a three or four-day pass immediately upon their return, and while he said every Soldier will be excited to return the wear of the past 15-months will catch up with everyone.
"We'll have had the 'on-switch' flipped on for more than 15 months," he said. "They (Soldiers) will be excited the first three days, but after that, they're going to be tired."
Garcia invited Families to take part in the reintegration process when their Soldiers return, noting that the instruction is based on lessons learned from past deployments.
Noting that his battalion has reached the "two-digit midget" status on short-timer calendars in the unit, Garcia said he continues to stress to Soldiers to keep up their guard and not become complacent in the final few months here.
For Family members, Garcia said they should stay "plugged in" with the battalion's rear detachment, as flight information for each Soldier will be made available as soon as possible. Staying involved means staying informed, he said, and helps dispel rumors.
"Like we've always said, if it doesn't come from the rear detachment command, it's a rumor," he reminded the Families.