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Thirteen months after casing its colors in Germany, the reconstituted 2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment is returning next week to its home field with a hangar-full of new toys.

The squadron’s 200-plus members have spent the last year at Fort Hood, Texas, training in the Army’s most advanced attack helicopter, the AH-64D Apache Longbow. The Longbows boast a more advanced radar and firing system than the A-model Apaches they replace.

Many soldiers and their families arrived by bus Friday at Illesheim Army Airfield, welcomed by sponsors from their sister unit, the 6th Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment. Two years ago, the 6/6 Cavalry families themselves arrived from Fort Hood, the first Europe-based unit to get the Longbows.

Pilots with the 2/6 Cavalry will arrive with the unit’s 22 new helicopters early next week.

The 2/6 Cavalry cased its colors at Illesheim June 26, 2003, six weeks after the unit returned from an eight-month tour in Kuwait and Iraq. After months of training in the Kuwaiti desert, they crossed the border during the invasion of Iraq and supported the 3rd Infantry Division’s attack on Baghdad through the Karbala Gap during the early days of the war.

The unit unfurled its flag Sept. 12, 2003, at Fort Hood, near the beginning of a year of intensive Longbow training.

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