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Brothers A.Jay, left, and Jeremy Popoff, of the Orange County, Calif., band Lit, rock the crowd during a Friday night performance at the welcome home ceremony for Task Force Griffin at Giebelstadt Army Airfield in Giebelstadt, Germany.

Brothers A.Jay, left, and Jeremy Popoff, of the Orange County, Calif., band Lit, rock the crowd during a Friday night performance at the welcome home ceremony for Task Force Griffin at Giebelstadt Army Airfield in Giebelstadt, Germany. (Mark St.Clair / S&S)

Brothers A.Jay, left, and Jeremy Popoff, of the Orange County, Calif., band Lit, rock the crowd during a Friday night performance at the welcome home ceremony for Task Force Griffin at Giebelstadt Army Airfield in Giebelstadt, Germany.

Brothers A.Jay, left, and Jeremy Popoff, of the Orange County, Calif., band Lit, rock the crowd during a Friday night performance at the welcome home ceremony for Task Force Griffin at Giebelstadt Army Airfield in Giebelstadt, Germany. (Mark St.Clair / S&S)

Col. Mark J. McKearn, left, commander of the 12th Aviation Brigade, and brigade Command Sgt. Maj. Hector E. Marin case the unit colors during a welcome-home ceremony Friday at Giebelstadt Army Airfield, Germany.

Col. Mark J. McKearn, left, commander of the 12th Aviation Brigade, and brigade Command Sgt. Maj. Hector E. Marin case the unit colors during a welcome-home ceremony Friday at Giebelstadt Army Airfield, Germany. (Mark St.Clair / S&S)

Two-year-old Austin Bennett takes a free carnival ride during Friday’s welcome home ceremony for friends, family and members of Task Force Griffin at Giebelstadt Army Airfield in Giebelstadt, Germany.

Two-year-old Austin Bennett takes a free carnival ride during Friday’s welcome home ceremony for friends, family and members of Task Force Griffin at Giebelstadt Army Airfield in Giebelstadt, Germany. (Mark St.Clair / S&S)

One lucky fan gets the chance to play Lit lead guitarist Jeremy Popoff’s guitar during a Friday night performance that was part of a welcome- home ceremony for Task Force Griffin at Giebelstadt Army Airfield, Germany.

One lucky fan gets the chance to play Lit lead guitarist Jeremy Popoff’s guitar during a Friday night performance that was part of a welcome- home ceremony for Task Force Griffin at Giebelstadt Army Airfield, Germany. (Mark St.Clair / S&S)

A.Jay Popoff, lead singer of the rock band Lit, jokes with the crowd during a Friday night performance at Giebelstadt Army Airfield in Giebelstadt, Germany.

A.Jay Popoff, lead singer of the rock band Lit, jokes with the crowd during a Friday night performance at Giebelstadt Army Airfield in Giebelstadt, Germany. (Mark St.Clair / S&S)

GIEBELSTADT, Germany — Beginning with the V Corps Band playing “Soundoff” and ending 11 hours later with “My Own Worst Enemy,” by modern rockers Lit, Task Force Griffin was officially welcomed home Friday.

After a year in Afghanistan, Giebelstadt Army Airfield’s 12th Aviation Brigade, along with units from the Oregon and Nevada National Guards, were given the red-carpet treatment by U.S. Army Garrison-Franconia.

It started with a formal ceremony watched by family, friends and colleagues, continued with free food and drink and wound up with the performance by Lit.

Pfc. Jeff Sickle, a fuel supply specialist with Company F of the 159th Aviation Regiment, said he was surprised at how much was offered to the troops and families during the day.

“I’m waiting to see Lit, who I saw in 1997 in the States, but I think what they did here was great, and I’m really appreciative,” he said.

Lit, an Orange County, Calif.-based rock group, was in Europe for just this performance after traveling for 30 hours from the States. They spent part of the day with soldiers in Illesheim testing AH-64 Apache flight simulators.

Once they arrived, they arrived in full force, playing hits such as “My Own Worst Enemy” and “Miserable” as well as a scorching cover of the Cure hit “Pictures of You.”

The band, which had played for troops last summer in Kosovo and Germany, was excited to come back.

“We have a lot of respect and admiration. We come from military families, so it means a lot to us to come and play some rock ’n’ roll and hang out with you guys,” Lit guitarist Jeremy Popoff said.

The formal portion of the ceremony began just after noon with task force members marching in and standing at attention while their desert combat uniforms and unit guidons flapped in heavy wind. They listened as they were praised by Brig. Gen. James Barclay, assistant division commander of the 1st Infantry Division, and Col. Mark J. McKearn, commander of the 12th Aviation Brigade.

While in Afghanistan, the task force, working out of 12 locations throughout the country, mobilized a task force to provide humanitarian aid and support to victims of the devastating earthquake in nearby Pakistan.

Almost 70 percent of Griffin’s soldiers had been deployed to Iraq a year before going to Afghanistan.

“This was the shortest turnaround from one-year to one-year deployments of any brigade-sized element in the Army today — just under 12 months,” Barclay said.

Both speakers also paid respect to the 10 soldiers who died during the deployment.

The formal portion ended with McKearn and 12th Aviation’s sergeant major, Command Sgt. Maj. Hector G. Marin, casing the unit’s colors in preparation for its move to Katterbach later this year.

The ceremony marked one of the last official functions at Giebelstadt, which due to Army transformation plans is scheduled to officially close in late July.

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