By Spc. Shejal Pulivarti
1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs
CAMP TAJI, Iraq – Soldiers from 1st "Ironhorse" Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division were smiling with excitement as they waited to board their long anticipated flights Jan 12. The Ironhorse Brigade, that is being replaced by 2nd "Warrior" Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, have finally begun their journey back home to Fort Hood, Texas, after an extended 15-month deployment to northwest Iraq.
"After 15 long months, it feels good to finally be leaving and rejoin our families back home," said Los Angeles, Calif., native Staff Sgt. Cesar Martinez, cannon crew chief for Battery B, 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st BCT, 1st Cav. Div. "I and my comrades have been through a lot, good and bad, but we got the mission done successfully."
Throughout the tour, the Ironhorse Brigade established and maintained a safe, secure and stable environment in their area of operations. They decreased weekly violence and incidents eighty percent in their area said Roundup, Mon., native Col. Paul E. Funk II, commander of 1st BCT, 1st Cav. Div.
A sense of anxiousness blanketed the old warehouse where the manifest for the various flights took place. The many Soldiers reminisced about the experiences, trials and adventures they encountered during the elongated deployment. "I've learned from experiencing how these people live, we could have it a lot worse than we do in America and that we usually take a lot of things we have for granted," stated Bay City, Texas native Spc. Nicholas Bomar, cannon crew member for Troop D, 1st Battalion, 82nd F.A.
"I'm proud of what my troops accomplished during this tour; we maintained a significant decrease in violence since our arrival. We assisted in providing essential services and participated in the reconciliation process. It's now time for us to pass the baton, go home and reunite with our families," said Funk.
This work, Ironhorse Brigade heads home after an extended 15 month tour in Iraq, by SSG Shejal Pulivarti, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.