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John Michael Caseja displays a welcome-home sign for his father, Spc. Johnathan Caseja, on Friday in Kaiserslautern, Germany.

John Michael Caseja displays a welcome-home sign for his father, Spc. Johnathan Caseja, on Friday in Kaiserslautern, Germany. (Steve Mraz / S&S)

John Michael Caseja displays a welcome-home sign for his father, Spc. Johnathan Caseja, on Friday in Kaiserslautern, Germany.

John Michael Caseja displays a welcome-home sign for his father, Spc. Johnathan Caseja, on Friday in Kaiserslautern, Germany. (Steve Mraz / S&S)

Sgt. Ismael Hernandez is reunited with his 16-month-old son, Neka, on Friday at Kleber Kaserne.

Sgt. Ismael Hernandez is reunited with his 16-month-old son, Neka, on Friday at Kleber Kaserne. (Steve Mraz / S&S)

Staff Sgt. Guy Minott is greeted by his daughter Kyleigh, 6, on Friday morning at Kleber Kaserne.

Staff Sgt. Guy Minott is greeted by his daughter Kyleigh, 6, on Friday morning at Kleber Kaserne. (Steve Mraz / S&S)

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Soldiers with the 37th Transportation Command and the 28th Transportation Battalion have returned to Germany from their yearlong deployment in Kuwait, where they served as a lifeline for forces in Iraq.

More than 130 soldiers were welcomed home Friday morning at ceremonies in Kaiserslautern and Mannheim. Eighty-five soldiers with the 37th Transportation Command headquarters were greeted by rousing applause around 8:30 a.m. Friday at Kleber Kaserne in Kaiserslautern. About 50 soldiers with the 28th Transportation Battalion headquarters were welcomed home Friday morning at the gym on Coleman Barracks in Mannheim.

For a year, the soldiers operated mainly out of Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, where they oversaw, organized and sometimes traveled on supply convoys from Kuwait into all areas of Iraq. In addition to other missions, units under the 37th Transportation Command and the 28th Transportation Battalion transported equipment for units going into and coming out of Iraq.

“Anything that moved north was on our trucks,” said Col. Michael MacNeil, 37th commander.

As a brigade-level headquarters, the 37th Transportation Command had on average 3,400 troops — including some airmen — under it. On one day in January, the command had more than 3,000 trucks on the road.

“Just imagine, if you put them end-to-end, there would be a convoy from the border of Kuwait all the way up to Tallil, [Iraq], just bumper to bumper over 200 miles long,” MacNeil said.

The 37th Transportation Command did a magnificent job during its tough deployment, said Brig. Gen. Scott West, commander of the 21st Theater Support Command.

“No one could have done it better than the 37th — the team effort associated with this, and you should all be very proud of the work that you’ve done,” West said. “I want you to know that the 21st TSC is honored by your service.”

When asked how it felt to be home, Staff Sgt. Guy Minott, surrounded by his wife and children, replied frankly.

“It feels better than going to Disney World for the first time, and I’ve never been to Disney World,” he said. “So, you can imagine how that feels.”


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