News: Deployed Soldiers Prepare for Home
Story by Spc. Christopher Bruce
Soldiers loaded Stryker military vehicles onto tractor-trailers late Friday to be shipped back to their home in Fairbanks, Alaska. The Stryker vehicles belong to the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team that is part of the 25th Infantry Division.
For the past year, the brigade was headquartered at Forward Operating Base Warhorse and was in charge of the entire Diyala Province of Iraq. They deployed on Sept. 11, 2008 and will be returning home this month.
Tonight was part of a four night period where more than 100 Stryker vehicles were loaded and transported to another base for their departure home. The vehicles were guided onto the trailers under large work lights at one o'clock in the morning.
Sgt. 1st Class Christian Alexander was the top enlisted person in charge of loading the Strykers to be moved back home. He said extreme caution was taken and that safety was the main concern. That is why Dean Phillips Jr., the Brigades Safety specialist was on hand to assist. Phillips said there was potential for tipping the Strykers while driving them up on the ramps to load them onto the trailers.
"One of our safety concerns is getting the vehicle up on the back of the trailer because depending on the ramps we could have a possible tip over," Phillips said. "We would like to see the rest of the brigade deploy out of Forward Operating Base Warhorse without any instances."
No instances occurred this night either. The trucks were loaded within a few hours and the loading crew watched as the trucks departed the base. Alexander watched as well. He said that although the past year has had many achievements for the brigade, he is ready to go back home and be with his family.
"I am kind of anxious to get home but in the same token I am kind of nervous about it," Alexander said. "I haven't seen my family in nine months now. It's going to be something great to see them, but at the same time, I am kind of hesitating. But it's great, it's a great feeling."
The night represented one step closer to going home. The brigade is expected to transfer their authority to 3rd Brigade Stryker Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division on Sept. 12. Shortly after, they will make their way home to Alaska.