‘Fighting Deuce’ Soldiers return home after OEF deployment
Sgt. Terence Ewings,
24th Press Camp Headquarters:
After a yearlong deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, troopers from E Battery, 5th Battalion, 52nd Air and Missile Defense, 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, returned home Aug. 23 to Fort Bliss.
The “Fighting Deuce” Soldiers were welcomed home by friends, families and Fort Bliss community members during a ceremony at the Departure/Arrival Airfield Control Group at Biggs Army Airfield.
“I’m happy to have these guys back home,” said Capt. John Bannister, rear detachment commander for the battalion. “They did an outstanding job accomplishing the mission, and it feels great to have them back.”
Leaving months ahead of the rest of the brigade, the E Btry. troopers deployed last fall to support Regional Command-East Afghanistan. Throughout their overseas tour, the Soldiers were responsible for monitoring tactical radars and other air defense equipment to manage airspace in their operational environment.
“These Soldiers were instrumental in ensuring other servicemembers were safe and secure downrange by managing that airspace,” said Bannister. “They helped prevent possible rocket and mortar attacks, which saves lives.”
Spc. Cody Lones, an air defense battle management system operator, was one of the Soldiers responsible for controlling and maintaining the radar equipment overseas.
Like most of the Soldiers, Lones was welcomed back to the U.S. by his family, wife Randi and son Hunter, who were waiting at the DAACG near the airfield.
“It’s a great feeling walking off that plane,” said Lones. “I don’t know how to explain it. I’m sure anybody who has been deployed knows how it feels; it’s exciting and just gives you chills.”
Now that they are back in country, the E Btry. Soldiers will conduct their deployment reset cycle and garrison operations as they await the return of their 11th ADA Bde. fellow servicemembers, scheduled to return later this year.
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