In Germany, GIs back from Iraq receive warm welcome
GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — The Grafenwöhr, Hohenfels and Vilseck military communities welcomed home from Iraq about 500 soldiers from the 94th Engineer Combat Battalion (Heavy) in a ceremony Thursday at Grafenwöhr.
The 500 engineers returned home Jan. 17.
The remaining 137 soldiers from the battalion are in Kuwait working to get the unit’s equipment back to Germany. They are expected to return later this week, according to Lt. Col. Paul Grosskruger, battalion commander.
The 94th deployed in January 2002 and provided support with building base camps, refurbishing the Baghdad airport and participating in Task Force Neighborhood, an outreach program that helped the people of Iraq with rebuilding needs, Grosskruger said.
Although the battalion’s companies are spread out in Vilseck, Hohenfels and Grafenwöhr, Grosskruger said the battalion pulled together for the missions in Iraq.
“There never was a mission we didn’t rely on each other for,” he said in remarks during the ceremony.
“I think we’ve all grown from this and found more understanding of ourselves and those around us.”
Later, he told troops the mission ahead of them now is to get back into their prewar lives.
“Now, I’m going to give you an order,” he said.
“You will spend quality time with your families, and you will get your lives back in order.”