FORT BLISS, Texas -- Team Bliss had a lot to be thankful for as soldiers from Alpha Detachment, 4th Finance Company returned from their deployment to Iraq Thanksgiving night here at Fort Bliss.
The 25-soldier detachment arrived on a flight that included members of 4th Brigade, 1st Armored Division, to cheering and screaming families at the Departure/Arrival Airfield and Control Group, East Fort Bliss.
After President Barack Obama’s announcement that all service members would leave Iraq by the end of 2011, Fort Bliss has experienced flights returning on a regular basis. This has led to many happy family reunions.
One of those reunions is with Sgt. 1st Class James Kent, a launcher platoon sergeant with 1st Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery, and his wife, Sgt. Lee Kent of 4th FC. With three children, being a single father has not been easy.
“It’s difficult at times being dual military,” said Kent. “I returned from Korea about a month after she deployed to Iraq. We haven’t been a full family in almost two years. The kids are extremely excited to finally have the entire family back together.”
Kent spent the day making sure the house was in order, and making his wife’s favorite food for her return home. The family was planning to have a full Thanksgiving dinner the next day after everyone was settled.
Kent was just one of many happy family reunions from 4th FC that night. Also reuniting was Altonette Thenstead with her husband, Sgt. Stephen Thenstead.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am,” said Altonette. “I wasn’t expecting him to return home until next April. Knowing that he is home and safe, our family can really enjoy the holiday season.”
While in Iraq, 4th FC had plenty to keep them busy. The company conducted 11 Mobile Financial Management Support Team missions to various firebases and Contingency Operating Sites throughout the Iraq Joint Operational Area.
The company was also recognized by the 24th Financial Management Company, Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Sustainment Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, as having the highest military pay accuracy rating in the company. 4th FC processed and coded more than 4,500 documents with an accuracy rate of 99 percent.
As the mission in Iraq drew to a close over the last few months, the soldiers of 4th FC still had plenty of work to do. This included retrograding and turning in more than $400,000 worth of Eagle Cash equipment and the closure of three finance offices at Combat Outpost Speicher and Contingency Operating Sites Warrior and Kalsu.