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Summer Covin, along with her daughters, Queen, Sahryia and Johnaya, cheer as members of the 226th Medical Battalion, Logistics “Forward” march into formation at the Miesau Army Depot gym late Thursday night after returning home from a one-year deployment to Balad Air Base, Iraq, on Thursday.
Summer Covin, along with her daughters, Queen, Sahryia and Johnaya, cheer as members of the 226th Medical Battalion, Logistics “Forward” march into formation at the Miesau Army Depot gym late Thursday night after returning home from a one-year deployment to Balad Air Base, Iraq, on Thursday. (Ben Bloker / S&S)
Summer Covin, along with her daughters, Queen, Sahryia and Johnaya, cheer as members of the 226th Medical Battalion, Logistics “Forward” march into formation at the Miesau Army Depot gym late Thursday night after returning home from a one-year deployment to Balad Air Base, Iraq, on Thursday.
Summer Covin, along with her daughters, Queen, Sahryia and Johnaya, cheer as members of the 226th Medical Battalion, Logistics “Forward” march into formation at the Miesau Army Depot gym late Thursday night after returning home from a one-year deployment to Balad Air Base, Iraq, on Thursday. (Ben Bloker / S&S)
Staff Sgt. Wilmer Tapia enjoys a hug from daughter, Melonie, after returning home from a one-year deployment to Balad Air Base, Iraq, on Thursday.
Staff Sgt. Wilmer Tapia enjoys a hug from daughter, Melonie, after returning home from a one-year deployment to Balad Air Base, Iraq, on Thursday. (Ben Bloker / S&S)
Capt. Christopher Gilbert and his wife, Katherine, share a moment after his return home Thursday from a one-year deployment to Balad Air Base, Iraq.
Capt. Christopher Gilbert and his wife, Katherine, share a moment after his return home Thursday from a one-year deployment to Balad Air Base, Iraq. (Ben Bloker / S&S)
A happy moment for Capt. Christopher Gilbert and his wife, Katherine.
A happy moment for Capt. Christopher Gilbert and his wife, Katherine. (Ben Bloker / S&S)

MIESAU ARMY DEPOT, Germany — Spc. David Villarreal was nervous and clutching a bouquet of flowers Thursday night as he awaited the return of his wife, Spc. Mary Villarreal, from her yearlong Iraq deployment.

The Villarreals were deployed to different areas of Iraq with different units for the past 12 months. They had seen each other a few times during their deployment. On Thursday night at the Miesau gym, they were finally about to be reunited.

David Villarreal, with the 147th Postal Company, returned to Kaiserslautern on Sept. 25 and began anxiously awaiting his wife’s return.

“The last two weeks have been longer than the whole year in Iraq,” he said.

A few minutes later, Mary Villarreal and about 180 fellow soldiers with the 226th Medical Battalion Logistics (Forward) arrived home to Miesau, following the unit’s second deployment to Iraq since 2003.

The battalion was based out of Balad Air Base in Iraq but had forward distribution teams spread throughout the country. At one point, the battalion had 700 soldiers underneath it in as many as 26 locations around Iraq. It was responsible for medical supply support throughout Iraq, making sure critical items such as blood and bandages were where they needed to be.

“Our call sign was ‘lifeline’ because we were the lifeline for all the caregivers,” said Lt. Col. Nolan P. Clark, battalion commander.

The battalion’s soldiers impressed Clark during the deployment.

“They were there for a year for OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom) 2,” he said. “They came back for nine and a half months and went again. Instead of it wearing them down, they just showed what great soldiers they are. They did an outstanding job and had the highest re-enlistment rate in the brigade.”

As for the Villarreals, the young husband and wife had an emotional embrace after the battalion formation was dismissed.

“It feels good,” said David Villarreal. “It feels good.”

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