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1st BCT begins return from Afghanistan tour

June 2, 2011

By Dustin Senger (Fort Carson)

FORT CARSON, Colo. -- Fifty-two Soldiers from 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, arrived from Afghanistan Saturday to prepare for the redeployment of thousands more.

Capt. Jonathan Byrd, 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 1st BCT, 4th Inf. Div., reported their safe return inside the Special Events Center. Nearly 4,000 war fighters from the brigade are expected throughout the next six weeks, said Col. Todd Heussner, Task Force Ivy commander.

During a one-year deployment, 1st BCT defeated Taliban safe havens in southern Afghanistan, while working to restore the volatile region’s infrastructure, according to brigade reports. The Soldiers provided Afghanistan National Security Forces with combat troops, close air support, mine clearance and medical capabilities.

Thirteen 1st BCT Soldiers died in Afghanistan, 11 of which were killed by insurgent bombings.

“You deployed to one of the most difficult areas of Afghanistan,” said Heussner. “You performed magnificently and you took care of one another while you were doing that.

“I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank the Families,” he said. “Without their support, without their love, without their encouragement, you wouldn’t be standing here today, enjoying the success you enjoy today.”

After Heussner’s remarks, the Soldiers were dismissed into waves of hugs and handshakes.

“I just wanted to see this little man and hold him,” said Spc. Jeremy Hewett, 1st Bn., 22nd Inf. Reg., after reuniting with his 16-month-old son, Addison. The Soldier’s wife had sent photographs via email and coordinated internet video calls, which kept Hewett connected while in the battlefield.

Spc. Justin Stone, 1st Bn., 66th Armor Reg., said he’s ready to hang out with friends and take it easy. The infantryman grabbed his gear and boarded a bus headed to the bachelors’ barracks.

“I’m just glad to be home,” said Stone.

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