By Amanda Kim Stairrett

Fort Hood Herald

The rest of the 1st Cavalry Division is on its way home.

The 1st Air Cavalry Brigade began its return to Fort Hood late March 17 as 150 soldiers were welcomed back from Iraq at Cooper Field.

Soldiers from across the brigade made up an advance party that will prepare for the rest of the brigade's arrival next month.

Flights will start in mid-April. It will take about two weeks to bring all of the brigade back from Iraq.

Soldiers started leaving Fort Hood in late April 2009.

The brigade, led by Col. Douglas Gabram, replaced the 4th Infantry Division's Combat Aviation Brigade June 2 at Camp Taji, Iraq.

It was the second time the Fort Hood-based units exchanged places at Camp Taji, said Col. Patrick Tierney, then the Combat Aviation Brigade's commander.

"The transfer should serve as point of inspiration because it exemplified the professionalism and dedication of all these aviation officers," Tierney said.

Gabram said in a June report from the division that the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade would be deliberate and offensive in nature, with responsive attack weapons teams, precision air assaults, medical evacuation support and timely movement of soldiers and supplies, all while proudly displaying the 1st Cavalry patch on their aircraft.

The division's ground troops - the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Brigade Combat Teams and Special Troops Battalion - returned from Iraq from November to February. About 16,000 1st Cavalry soldiers came back to Fort Hood in that time.

The 4th Brigade Combat Team returned last summer and is preparing for a late-summer deployment to Iraq.

Soldiers of the 1st Air Cavalry will be welcomed back with joyous ceremonies at Cooper Field – just like the brigade combat teams, said Col. Jeffrey Sauer, who served as the division's rear detachment commander.

Ceremony times will be posted on the division's Web site at www.hood.army.mil/1stcavdiv/redeployment/index. Those interested in attending can also call (254) 618-7598 or (254) 286-5331.

Contact Amanda Kim Stairrett at astair@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7547. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.

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