Soldiers welcomed home to Germany from Iraq deployments
January 15, 2005
WüRZBURG, Germany — About 75 soldiers came home to Germany early Thursday morning from Iraq, a trickle of returning troops that soon will become a flood.
The soldiers arrived in small groups at bases in Würzburg, Schweinfurt, Katterbach and Kitzingen between 4 and 6 a.m., after a 12-hour departure delay in their flight from Iraq to Germany.
One of the two largest groups included 28 soldiers from the Würzburg-based 67th Combat Support Hospital, which deployed to Iraq in January 2004 and staffed field hospitals in Mosul, Tikrit, Abu Ghraib and Fallujah.
Thursday’s arrivals were mostly female junior enlisted soldiers or noncommissioned officers, said Roger Teel, a spokesman for the 67th CSH, and they were part of the second significant group of troops to arrive home.
The rest of the unit is expected home during the next two weeks.
The other significant group included 25 soldiers from Company B, 3rd Battalion, 58th Aviation Regiment, which is based in Katterbach.
Many family members rose before dawn and huddled in the unit’s hangar, then cheered at 6:20 a.m. when the hangar’s huge doors opened and the troops marched in, said Rabia Nombamba, a spokeswoman for the Anbach-based 235th Base Support Battalion. One soldier, Sgt. Juan Torres-Rivera, met his 8-month-old son for the first time.
The Company B soldiers, under the command of Capt. Brandon Russell, had served as air traffic controllers in the Tikrit area during their 11-month deployment. A second group of controllers from the same unit is expected home soon, Nombamba said.
Other returning soldiers represented the 1st Infantry Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team, the 101st Military Intelligence Battalion, the Division Artillery, and the 38th Personnel Support Battalion, according to information released by the 417th Base Support Battalion in Kitzingen. All will undergo seven half-days of “reintegration training,” then go on 30 days of block leave.
An advance party of 1st Infantry Division troops returned home just before Christmas, and the first group of 67th CSH troops got back Jan. 3. More than 11,000 1st ID troops are expected to return to bases in northern Bavaria by late March.