News: 5-1st troopers, families welcome home wounded comrade
Story by Maj. Joel Anderson
FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Soldiers and family members of 5th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Squadron, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division Cavalry, gathered at Fairbanks International Airport Dec. 14 to welcome home one of their own.
Cpl. Leland Arledge was wounded in an IED attack, along with three of his fellow troopers in western Kandahar province, Afghanistan. His return this week came after two months of medical treatment at Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
More than 50 people, including Arledge’s fellow cavalry troopers and their family members, as well as his wife and sons, turned out to give him a warm welcome home on a cold Alaska night.
Arledge, a cavalry scout, was reunited with members of his section for the first time in almost three months, including his section sergeant, Staff Sgt. Stephan Fernandez, and Sgt. Mark Ziegler, another member of their section.
“It’s just great to see him doing so well,” Fernandez said. “I really missed having our section together. We really bonded,”
The three, along with Sgt. Robert “Evan” Storms, were attacked while supporting the 1-25th SBCT mission to extend coalition forces’ reach in order to deny regional insurgent havens.
The reunion was made possible by the efforts of the 5-1st Family Readiness Group.
Fernandez’s wife, Melissa, said, “It just makes me happy to see them get back together. Stephan worried so much about all of his guys.”
“I still can’t believe how many people came out,” Arledge told well-wishers. “This is really great … the camaraderie … the NCO support in the Cav community. It’s good to be back.”