By Spc. Andrew Ingram (Fort Carson)October 27, 2011
FORT CARSON, Colo. -- Maj. Gen. David G. Perkins scanned bleachers filled with excited, expectant faces then turned his gaze to the approximately 50 troops standing wearily but ecstatically in formation before him.
"Throughout the history of warfare, armies have marched off to war and, when they have returned, they are met by their families and friends, but few (welcomes) have been as warm or as heartfelt or as sincere as the one that we have received here today."
The command group and Soldiers of Division Special Troops Battalion, 4th Infantry Division, returned to Fort Carson after a yearlong deployment to Iraq in support of Operation New Dawn during an uncasing and welcome home ceremony at the Fort Carson Special Events Center Oct. 21.
The ceremony marked the reunion of the final main body of DSTB Soldiers with their Families and loved ones after a year of supporting the government of Iraq in its quest to become a self-sufficient democratic nation.
Perkins, commanding general, 4th Inf. Div. and Fort Carson, served as commander of all U.S. Forces in Northern Iraq during the deployment. He said his Soldiers, who represented the 4th Inf. Div. command's fourth deployment to Iraq since 9/11 should be honored to have served in Iraq in such an important milestone in the nation's history.
"Each one of those deployments was historic and difficult in their own way, but this one was uniquely challenging and uniquely important as it was the last chapter written about the American experience in Iraq," Perkins said. "It is the last chapter, the last experience the Iraqi people will have with American forces … there is no one to edit it, there is no one to come and rewrite it. The good news is the Soldiers standing here and the thousands that served under them wrote one helluva chapter."
Perkins thanked the Families of his Soldiers for their faithfulness and the support they showed their husbands, wives, parents and children while they served their nation abroad.
"A huge thanks goes out to our spouses and Family members," he said. "You truly are responsible for the success of our mission because of your steadfast perseverance and your loyalty to your Soldier and to each other."
"It is a huge relief to finally have the troops home and out of harm's way," said Jennifer Hinderberger, wife of Air Force Lt. Col. Gerry Hinderberger, 13th Air Support Operations Squadron, who was attached to 4th Inf. Div. during the deployment.
"I've got quite the 'honey-do' list for him now that he is back," she laughed. "But seriously, it is amazing to have him home again."
By the time they left Iraq, the Soldiers of the DSTB could see they left a positive impression on the people of Iraq, said Capt. David Danford, battle captain, who directed day-to-day operations in the Joint Operations Center at Contingency Operating Base Speicher, Iraq.
"I think I feel the same as everyone else," said Danford. "We had a good casing ceremony in Iraq where we really got a sense of what we accomplished while we were over there.
"Now I am just interested in spending time with my beautiful wife and son."