Wounded troops help uncase colors as Strykers return to Vilseck
Stars and Stripes November 26, 2008
VILSECK, Germany — Twenty-three wounded warriors helped uncase the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment’s colors during a welcome-home ceremony at Vilseck on Tuesday.
Some were on crutches, one was in a wheelchair and others had less visible injuries. All were given loud cheers and applause as they helped leaders uncase the colors in front of a packed crowd inside the Memorial Fitness Center.
Second Cav commander Col. John RisCassi told his men their service during 15 months in Iraq was nothing short of remarkable.
"The regiment’s name became synonymous with success across the entire Baghdad operating environment," he said, adding that the Dragoons went on to patrol a portion of Diyala province larger than Kuwait.
The Strykers were involved in many facets of warfare, from combat to shaking hands and distributing supplies, he said.
The mission was "a triumph that each of you can be justly proud of," he said.
The regiment destroyed al-Qaida’s last bastion in Baghdad, put down an uprising in Sadr City, disrupted a suicide bomber network in Diyala and recovered the remains of Staff Sgt. Matt Maupin, a fallen comrade, RisCassi said.
Stryker families in Vilseck also received praise.
"The toughest job in the army isn’t driving a Humvee, Stryker or MRAP. The toughest job is that of an Army family member," he said.
V Corps commander Lt. Gen. Kenneth Hunzeker told the troops, "No other unit of this size has deployed with as little notice, to as complex an environment, with as many types of mission as the Dragoons. It is appreciated."
The regiment left Iraq in a better situation than it was in when it deployed, he said.
"You took the fight to the enemy’s doorstep and it was your perseverance that reassured a once-oppressed Iraqi populace that better days were ahead," he said.
The Strykers cleared thousands of miles of road, found hundreds of improvised bombs and eliminated an insurgency, Hunzeker said.
"You are all veterans. You stood up, you showed up, you raised your right hand, you walked into the fire. You didn’t run, you didn’t hide, none of you have anything to prove. Those who mattered, know, and those who didn’t will never know," he said.