News: 76th Brigade Soldiers return to warm welcome
Story by Spc. William Henry
By Spc. William E. Henry
Indiana Army National Guard
INDIANAPOLIS – Loved ones of the Indiana Army National Guard, 76th Infantry Brigade Combat Team crowded in a hangar at Stout Field awaiting the return of Soldiers deployed to Iraq, Nov. 21.
The Soldiers arrived at the Indianapolis International Airport at around 9:30 p.m. where they were greeted by other members of the Indiana National Guard and boarded buses to meet an eager crowd. Approximately 145 Soldiers, from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 151st Infantry Regiment; Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 1st Battalion, 152nd Infantry Cavalry, Reconnaissance Surveillance and Target Acquisition and Company C, 1st Battalion, 151st Infantry Regiment, marched into the building while sounds of cheers and applause radiated from family and friends. The RSTA's Headquarters Troop is based in New Albany, Ind.; the Headquarters Company is based in Jasper, Ind., and Company C is headquartered in Indianapolis.
April Auspland, wife of Spc. Keith Auspland Co. C, 1-151 Inf. Reg., from New Albany, Ind. said it's heartwarming to know he's back in the states and out of harms way. She's proud of all he's accomplished. "It makes me feel good to know he's made the world a better place for me and my children to grow up in," said Auspland. "They touched a lot of lives and made a big difference being over there. I would encourage everybody to never take a day for granted when it comes to family and the sacrifices they make," said Clarissa Riffel, wife of 1st Lt. Mark Riffel, HHT, 1-152 Inf. Cav., from Mooresville, Ind. Another Hoosier Soldier, Pfc. Jennifer Bowser, HHT, 1-152 Cav., of Indianapolis said the military is changing Iraq for the good. "We're making a big difference over there. Compared to 2003, when we first got in there, we're rebuilding the country and are able to talk and be friendly with the Iraqi people." The Soldiers of the 76th were spread across a wide area in Iraq with many different missions to accomplish throughout their time in country.
During deployment the HHC, 1-151 worked with government entities, privately owned enterprises, and schools, to improve infrastructure and overall quality of life for citizens of Tikrit, Owja, and Wynot.
The HHT, 1-152, RSTA Soldiers played a vital role in the security and tracking of Soldiers participating in combat logistic patrols from the Multi-National Division - Baghdad area as well as providing an added layer of force protection and intelligence gathering capability for a large area in Baghdad. Company C, 1-151, Soldiers supported the 17th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion at Contingency Operating Base Q-West and provided security for more than 200 patrols while traveling more than 255,000 miles. Soldiers exchanged hugs, stories and love with family members and friends for about an hour before saying good-bye for just a few more days to finish the demobilization process releasing them from their active-duty status.