The first big wave of soldiers from the 4th Squadron, 6th Air Cavalry Regiment is scheduled to return to Fort Lewis from a 15-month deployment Tuesday afternoon.
Kisses and hugs galore await about 270 soldiers who flew, maintained and supported Blackhawk and Kiowa Warrior helicopter missions all over Northern Iraq. They’ll be reunited with loved ones at a ceremony scheduled early afternoon Tuesday in a hangar at the Army post. The News Tribune plans to cover it with words and pictures.
There are more than 600 soldiers in the 4-6 Air Cav, with the rest due home throughout August and September, according to a Fort Lewis news release.
This is a unit whose sacrifices began even before it shipped off to Iraq. Two pilots and a crew chief were killed in a nighttime training mission near Enumclaw in December 2006. A memorial was dedicated in their honor in Enumclaw’s Veterans Park over the July 4 holiday weekend. Read about it here.
The 4-6 also lost four soldiers in a Blackhawk accident during a mission near Kirkuk. A total of 14 soldiers were killed on Aug. 22, 2007, in what was the worst U.S. helicopter crash in Iraq in 2 1/2 years.
It was the squadron’s second fatal crash of the deployment. A pilot from Lacey was killed July 4, 2007, when his Kiowa struck power lines in Mosul.
Great to have these soldiers home, on the ground and safe.