Busy day at the DAACG
Ashley M. Alameda,
DoMaD Public Affairs:
Welcome home ceremonies for large, active-duty redeployments sometimes resemble a carnival. The redeployment of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team “Bulldogs,” 1st Armored Division, who arrived at Fort Bliss July 23 was no different. There were balloons, a jumping castle, smoke, music and hundreds of people.
With all the excitement of the major redeployment, not many knew that there were five units at the Departure/Arrival Airfield Control Group, or DAACG, at that time. The 689th Engineer Company, 875th Engineer Company, 882nd Engineer Company, 148th Infantry Regiment and the 3rd BCT all had incoming and outgoing flights within a two-hour time frame. The Directorate of Mobilization and Deployment team and 3rd BCT staff worked together diligently to accommodate all unit movements.
The big dog of the day was the 3rd BCT main body, scheduled to fly in around 3:30 p.m. Hundreds of family members awaited the return of their heroes. Children wore custom T-shirts, wives held babies and parents held signs waiting for that first glimpse of their Soldier.
Some noticed the other Soldiers sequestered to the side of the DAACG with bags and weapons. They were the Soldiers from the 875th and 882nd engineer companies waiting to board their flight en route to support operations in Southwest Asia, scheduled to leave at 4:15 p.m. The sister units were at Fort Bliss and McGregor Range for their pre-deployment training. As one unit comes home, another leaves to continue the mission.
The Soldiers from the 689th Engineer Company arrived earlier that day after completing their own mission. Spanning two flights, the 172 Soldiers returned to conduct their demobilization process before flying to their home station. The first flight, carrying 112 Soldiers, landed before 3rd BCT’s festivities. Its Soldiers were able to eat and move on to the barracks for the night. The second flight with 50 Soldiers landed around 4:50 p.m. Because of the timing of their flight, they were integrated into the 3rd BCT’s safety briefing. Once everyone received their briefing, the 3rd BCT Soldiers were marched into the DAACG to be released to their families, but the 689th Engineer Co. was kept a bit longer. Once the active-duty element and their support departed, the 689th Engineer Co. was fed and transported to the barracks to rest.
Family members waiting outside may have gotten their hopes up a bit when a plane landed and Soldiers wearing “Multi-Cam” uniforms emerged and walked into the DAACG around 2:45 p.m. Some civilians clapped, not really knowing who they were or why they were there. Those Soldiers, from the 148th Inf. Regt. from Ohio, were on their way home from Afghanistan and only stopped at Fort Bliss to refuel their plane. The 148th Inf. Regt. was not allowed to stay on the plane during the process, so they spent about an hour stretching their legs in the DAACG briefing room. Boarding their plane around 4 p.m., they were finally on their way home.
The DoMaD team carefully and successfully coordinated with the 3rd BCT staff to make sure everyone was where they needed to be, when they needed to be, without any hiccups in the time lines. One mishap could have derailed the flow of events. Each unit, however, was able to board or de-board their respective aircrafts on time, regardless of the destination to which they were flying.
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