NEWS | Dec. 12, 2016

Army Reserve Signal Soldiers return home from successful deployment

By Sgt. 1st Class Brent Powell 335th Signal Command (Theater)

North Fort Hood, Texas – After spending the past nine-months deployed in the war against terrorism, a group of more than 60 Army Reserve Soldiers arrived here Dec. 9, signaling the end of their successful mission.

The Soldiers, assigned to Detachment 10, 335th Signal Command (Theater), headquartered in East Point, Georgia, deployed with the mission of engineering, installing, operating, maintaining and defending network operations in support of Operation Freedom Sentinel and Operation Spartan Shield.

Now, with the mission successfully behind them, the Soldiers were officially welcomed home by Brig. Gen. Nikki Griffin-Olive, deputy commanding general for sustainment, 335th SC (T) and Sgt. Maj. Maureen Simpkins, G-3 operations sergeant major, 335th SC (T), during a welcome home warrior citizen ceremony here Dec 11.

The historic ceremony is part of the Welcome Home Warrior Program designed to recognize each Army Reserve Soldier who has served in the Global War on Terrorism either in Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom. The program’s goal is to provide an appropriate, timely and enduring memento to Soldiers and their families to convey in a small way the nation’s gratitude for their selfless service and sacrifice.

“What an honor it is to be here today on behalf of Maj. Gen. Pete Bosse, commanding general, 335th Signal Command (Theater)” said Olive.  “We are so very proud of what you do.  There is only one deployable signal command, and that’s the 335th.  It has a legacy of being fully deployed since 1991 and you are now the last group to leave a chapter in that legacy, and you have done a great job.”

Olive also spoke about the importance of leadership and encouraged the group to share the knowledge they gained during the deployment with their fellow Soldiers and future leaders.

Simpkins also took a few moments to address the Soldiers.  “I just want to say welcome home and great job,” she said.  “This has been a long journey.  You’ve had lessons learned and you’ve overcome numerous obstacles along the way, but its not over yet.  I want you to spend the next few days taking care of any administrative or medical needs, then get home safely to your family and your loved ones.”

One of the Soldiers in attendance who was eager to get home is Staff Sgt. Mathew J. Tolbe, an information technology specialist from Waianae, Hawaii, who performed duties as the operations noncommissioned officer during the deployment. “I’m really looking forward to getting home and spending time with my family,” he said.  “All three of my kids are excited for me to get home, but my 6-year-old is especially excited because this is the first time I’ve been away from her.”

The ceremony concluded with Olive presenting each Soldier with an American flag encased in a wooden display, a lapel pin for the Soldier and their spouse, a commemorative coin and a “Welcome Home Warrior Citizen” flag.  Those who had received the items before were presented with a certificate of appreciation from the command.

With the deployment now behind them, the group will now spend a few days here completing the redeployment and reintegration process before returning to their homes and families.
“Thank you for everything you have done, thank you for what you will continue to do for our service, and thank you for taking care of each other and taking care of our Soldiers,” said Olive.  “Many blessings to you all for a beautiful and happy holiday.”

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