By Sgt. Robert J. Strain, 1st Cavalry Division Public AffairsOctober 17, 2007
FORT HOOD, Texas - Under a cool, cloudy Central Texas night, a plane landed at Fort Hood's Robert Gray Army Airfield, but this was no ordinary plane.
This plane didn't carry your usual airline passengers, and it wasn't coming from Houston or Dallas, but from Bangor, Maine, carrying nearly 70 Soldiers from the 1st Cavalry Division's Band and the 15th Sustainment Brigade's Detachment B, 15th Personnel Services Battalion.
These troopers, who were welcomed home by rear detachment Soldiers and eager family members during a late night ceremony Oct. 15, were the first large group of the division's Soldiers to return from their deployment to Iraq.
"Tonight, at long last, we welcome the returning heroes of the Bravo Detachment of the 15th PSB, and the busiest band in the Army, the First Team Band," said Col. Larry Phelps, the rear detachment commander of the 1st Cavalry Division, during his short speech.
The band, which had been deployed since October 2006, played more than 1600 missions all across Iraq, four times more than any previous band during Operations Iraqi Freedom or Enduring Freedom, said Phelps, a native of Greenville, Ala.
He said that the 15th PSB Soldiers provided critical personnel services support to hundreds of units and thousands of Soldiers.
"They have done everything imaginable to support their customers," Phelps said. "They are our heroes." Before releasing the troops to their anxiously awaiting loved ones, Phelps asked everyone to remember the First Team troops still serving in Iraq.
"Before we rush this field and let these troopers know just how much we've missed them, and just how glad that we are that they're home - I would ask each of you here with us tonight to keep the troopers still down range in your prayers," Phelps said.
Once Phelps' remarks were complete, the Soldiers were released to their families for three days off to relax before starting their reintegration processing. Even though the Soldiers had been traveling for nearly 36 hours, all of them were excited to be home.
"I'm really happy and really tired," said Spc. Jeffrey Van Curan, a French horn player with the band.
Several members of Van Curan's family came out to the late night ceremony to welcome him home, including his grandfather, mother, sister and his fiancAfA, Kim Butler.
Van Curan said that he is looking forward to just sitting around the house, enjoying life and playing with his Siberian Husky.