FORT BENNING, Ga. - Family and friends gathered in Freedom Hall Saturday to welcome home 75 returning Soldiers of the 13th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion.

The battalion left for Iraq in April 2010 to support Operation Iraqi Freedom. That mission changed in September to Operation New Dawn. Their mission was to support the withdrawal of forces and equipment in Iraq, said Capt. Henry Vazquez, rear detachment commander.

After the battalion's aircraft landed at Lawson Army Airfield, the Soldiers in-processed while families waited for the Soldiers to arrive.

Tammy Trantham, the mother of Spc. Anthony Reemes, said waiting was nerve-wrecking.

"We're just anxious, excited and can't wait for him to get here," she said.

Trantham said she and her son kept in touch through Facebook. Staying connected with Reemes while he was deployed provided them the support they needed, she said.

"We sent packages and just prayed ... and hoped for a safe return," Trantham said.

Capt. Venson Walker, a returning Soldier, said family support was key.

"The family supportwhile you are over there is the key to everything when it comes to deployment," he said. "Because you need that letter, that phone call, that sense of motivation from family to make it through the days and the months while you are there."

Walker said he was glad to be back to his wife and three children. This was his second deployment.
"It was a little challenging this time because we have three kids now," his wife, Jacqueline said. "The first deployment, we only had one kid so this time I faced a lot of challenges. However we made it through."

The battalion commander, Col. Anthony Bohn, said the battalion did "one of the single largest logistical missions in Iraq - flawlessly."

"The words are: the only, the biggest, the largest - that's what we touched and that's what we did," he said.

The battalion is scheduled to inactivate in October.