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The end is in sight for 5th Brigade, as homecomings begin

Post by Matt Misterek / The News Tribune on June 18, 2010 at 4:25 pm |
June 18, 2010 6:40 pm

The first major flight of returning soldiers from a battle-hardened Stryker brigade in Afghanistan will arrive at Joint Base Lewis-McChord Monday night, officials say.

About 250 troops from the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division will reunite with their
families and friends at a ceremony scheduled for 8:30 p.m. Monday at Sheridan Gym. The arrival time might push back, however, due to the complexities of military transport.

The brigade deployed last July to Afghanistan, where it has faced hard fighting primarily in Kandahar province in the south. Most of its nearly 4,000 soldiers will round out the year-long deployment by coming home by late July.

This early-returning group is made up of a mix of soldiers from each of the brigade’s various battalions, said Catherine Caruso, a Lewis-McChord spokeswoman.

An even-earlier group of comparable size, known as the advance party, flew home in the last few weeks to less fanfare. The job of these men and women is to prepare and make life more comfortable for the return of the main body of soldiers to follow — everything from signing for barracks keys to making sure the power is on.

The 5th Brigade was the last of the four Stryker brigades that were born at the base south of Tacoma, and the first to deploy to Afghanistan. A reported 36 of its soldiers have died during the deployment.

CALLING ALL STRYKER FAMILIES
Are you the loved one of a soldier with 5th Brigade or one of the other Stryker brigades returning home this summer? We’d like to hear from you. What kind of preparations are you making? How do you expect life to change when your soldier is home? Send an email to matt.misterek@thenewstribune.com. Please include your name and daytime phone number for possible followup.

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