FORT DRUM A yearlong deployment for 46 soldiers from the posts 10th Sustainment Brigade came to a close Tuesday, as they were welcomed home by their families and division leadership.
The soldiers, primarily split between the 630th Engineer Company, 7th Engineer Battalion, and the 33rd Financial Company, had served in the eastern portion of Afghanistan.
I shake a lot of these guys hands going out ... its great to have these guys come back, said Col. Christopher D. Latchford, the brigades rear provisional commander. He acknowledged the heavy toll of the brigades work: Six soldiers from the brigade were killed during the deployment. Several soldiers were wounded in action, a number that Col. Latchford said he didnt have available to him Tuesday afternoon.
Among the post leadership at the ceremony was Col. (Promotable) Walter E. Piatt, the 10th Mountain Divisions deputy commanding general for support.
The soldiers return Tuesday was preceded by about 40 other soldiers, who had returned earlier in the month in groups of one and two.
As the quick return ceremony ended, family members rushed their respective soldiers. Among those was Sheila A. Brewer, who hugged her fiance. Spc. Richard E. Bodiford, with her daughter Hannah Brewer, 5. Ms. Brewer, who is seven months pregnant with Spc. Bodifords child, had kept her fiances return a secret from Hannah for weeks. Hannah wore a headband specially fitted with a pair of American flags.
Before the ceremony, Ms. Brewer described the wait to see her fiance as a long, long time.
You just kind of have to push through, she said. Keeping busy is important.
Spc. Bodiford, the lone returning soldier from the 642nd Engineer Company, also under the 7th Engineer Battalion, said the majority of his feeling was happiness.
Im overjoyed to see them, he said, looking at his fiancee and her daughter. However, he said, he was not happy that the rest of his unit was still in theater.
Spc. Bodiford, a Quinlan, Texas, native, said he planned on spending time with his family now that he is home.
The brigades return will proceed over the next several months. Col. Latchford said another smaller group of troops will return toward the end of September, followed by a larger group in the middle of October, which will bring back about half of the brigades approximately 1,000 deployed soldiers. The rest of the brigades soldiers will then return in a staggered fashion until May.