About 250 soliders from the 201st Battlefield Surveillance Brigade are returning from Iraq and will be welcomed home in a ceremony scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monday, according to a press release issued by Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
About 1,000 soldiers from the brigade deployed in in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom last September. It was one of the last major deployments in a surge of nearly 18,000 local soldiers who started serving year-long combat tours in Iraq or Afghanistan in 2009.
The brigade’s mission includes coordinating spying from human sources, intercepting cell phone and other electronic messages, doing counterintelligence activities, managing Arabic linguists, and monitoring and targeting enemy positions, among other duties.
Although a few soldiers returned earlier this month as part of the brigade’s advance party, this group marks the beginning of the return for the brigade’s main body. Most soldiers deployed with the unit will return to the base over the next two weeks.
The surveillance brigade suffered its first reported casualty in early August since its deployment to Iraq last year.
Sgt. Faith Renee Hinkley, a 23-year-old human intelligence collector, was assigned to the 502nd Military Intelligence Battalion, 201st Battlefield Surveillance Brigade. She was killed Aug. 7 after insurgents attacked her unit in Iskandariya, Iraq.