‘Warrior Brigade’ holds its official redeployment ceremony

| July 21, 2011 | 0 Comments
Soldiers with 2nd BCT, 25th ID, stand proudly with the brigade and battalion colors during their redeployment ceremony, July 14, at Weyand Field, Schofield Barracks.

Soldiers with 2nd BCT, 25th ID, stand proudly with the brigade and battalion colors during their redeployment ceremony, July 14, at Weyand Field, Schofield Barracks.

Story and Photo by
Staff Sgt. Ricardo Branch
2nd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — What began as a deployment to Iraq, more than one year ago for the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, “Warriors,” 25th Infantry Division, culminated in a redeployment ceremony, here, July 14.

Soldiers, family members and community leaders gathered on Weyand Field, here, as the symbolic brigade’s and battalions’ colors were uncased and unfurled, signifying the return of the unit to the island and its return to the “Tropic Lightning Div.”

“Fellow warriors, the goal of our mission in Iraq was resolve to finish the U.S. Operation Iraqi Freedom-Operation New Dawn mission. … I can state with absolute pride and confidence that you exceeded my wildest expectations,” said Col. Malcolm Frost, commander, 2nd BCT.

The ceremony honored returning Warrior Bde. Soldiers and wounded warriors, as well as family members who volunteered much of their time to ensure the home front was taken care of while their spouses were downrange.

“It was hard; it took me a few months to get used to life without my husband,” said Evelynn Billings, a Warrior Bde. spouse. “I was juggling school and a full-time job while (my husband) was away, so I’m happy that he’s home.”

The brigade served one year in the Salah ad Din, Diyala and Kirkuk provinces of Iraq, where they helped advise, train, assist and equip Iraqi Security Forces to safeguard and defend their own country.

“Your efforts (during) the past year with our joint, interagency and Iraq partners resulted in staggering progress,” Frost said. “You assisted the Iraqis in putting themselves on an irreversible path that will result in a secure and stable, self-reliant and sovereign nation that is an ‘oasis of hope’ for the Middle East.”

The deployment didn’t come without its share of sorrow, as five Warrior Bde. Soldiers paid the ultimate sacrifice to their country: Staff Sgt. Phillip Jenkins, Sgt. David Luff Jr., Pfc. James McClamrock, Sgt. Jamal Rhett and 1st Lt. Michael Runyan.

They were remembered during the ceremony.

“The Warrior family mourns their loss, as we consider their sacrifice down to their final full measure,” said Command Sgt. Mgt. William Hain, senior enlisted leader, 2nd BCT. “They stepped forward when their nation and world called, when others could not or would not. They are all heroes and make me proud to be an American.”

Lt. Gen. Francis Wierciniski, commander, U.S. Army-Pacific, and reviewing officer for the ceremony, spoke about the many accomplishments of the brigade this past deployment, and what it means to be a Warrior Bde. Soldier.

“This group of Soldiers on the field before you is a very special group,” he said. “Ten years after war came to our shores, these Soldiers volunteered and enlisted to defend our country, and our country respects them deeply for it. “

Wierciniski then addressed the Soldiers on the field.

“Soldiers, look around you at the people across the field. They are free … that’s what you did; they are free because of you,” he said. “Reflect on that accomplishment as you go on leave, and know that all your family and friends here, thank you. … Welcome home.”

Following the ceremony, Soldiers and attendees moved to the Nehalani, here, for the Stryke Back Bash, where the brigade toasted everyone in attendance for their efforts to ensure the Warrior Bde. was able to successfully complete its mission in Iraq.

 

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