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V Corps Release

Release Date: 12/17/2003

By Jayme Loppnow 130th Engineer Brigade Public Affairs Office

HANAU, Iraq -- The holidays came a little early for some V Corps families in Bamberg, Germany.

Excited spouses and children gathered at Bamberg's Warner Barracks holding banners and flowers to greet Soldiers of the corps' 54th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade who returned recently after a 10-month Iraq deployment. Loud cheers and patriotic songs, courtesy of the 1st Infantry Division band, greeted more than 300 smiling Soldiers Dec. 9 and 10. Many tears of joy were shed as spouses and children embraced their Soldiers for the first time in almost a year.

Among the family members were Angela Wagner and Daniel Ladislas who flew from Corydon, Iowa to welcome home son and brother, Spc. Louis Ladislas.

"I couldn't stand the thought of him getting on that bus with no one here to meet him," said Wagner. "So I rearranged my appointments and pulled Daniel out of school and we came."

Wagner had also flown to Germany in early February to send her son off to Iraq and was able to meet her son's fellow Soldiers.

"I think that really helped me deal with it this past year," said Wagner. "I can't imagine being a Mom back in the States and having no clue what his life is like. I got to meet his friends, his commander and his first sergeant, who really impressed me."

Wagner said she communicated with her son about once a month during his deployment and received regular updates from the company commander and the Family Readiness Group.

"It was a blessing, because we were able to visualize where they were and what they were doing," she said. "I know that they weren't able to talk about a lot of stuff, but it was nice just to know that everyone was alright."

Ladislas had no clue that his mother and brother would be there until he stepped off the bus and saw the two standing in the crowd of cheering families.

"I'm so impressed that she is here," said Ladislas. "I didn't think I'd get to see her until Christmas. I haven't seen them in 10 months and it's just such a blessing to have them here today. I'm very thankful for where I'm at right now. From what we've been through as a battalion, I'm very thankful right now to be here with people who love me."

Wagner said she supports her son in his decision to join the Army, but isn't thrilled about her son's chosen path.

"I don't think any mother ever chooses this for her children," said Wagner. "He has to be led by his own conviction and he's almost 22 years old now. I'm sure that I'm not getting a boy back. We don't raise them to control them. We raise them to release them and make the world a better place."

Throughout the deployment, the 54th Engineer Battalion provided command and control for the initial breach lanes into Iraq and installed and maintained several assault float bridges on the Euphrates River. The unit provided combat engineering and construction support from Ar Ramadi west to the Syrian and Jordanian borders as well as numerous bridge and route reconnaissance missions throughout the western sector of Iraq. The troops conducted weapons searches to destroy caches being used for attacks on military convoys. They also provided security for operations at the Abu Ghurayb prison complex and Logistical Support Area Dogwood. Prior to redeploying, the Battalion provided command and control for Task Force Rocketeer, a Combined Joint Task Force-7 directed task force, which removed more than 60 SA-2 and Al Samoud missiles littered throughout Iraq. They also provided construction support to the 130th Engineer Brigade at Logistical Support Area Anaconda, improving the living conditions of more than 700 Soldiers and conducting route reconnaissance and clearance missions.

The unit suffered one casualty during its deployment.

The Battalion was located at Logistical Support Area Dogwood for the majority of the deployment and moved to Logistical Support Area Anaconda in September.

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