FORT HOOD — When deployment got chaotic, Sgt. Roy Kellogg said he thought of his wife back home to keep himself motivated.

“Every day I was looking forward to seeing my beautiful wife,” said the communications specialist who spent the past nine months in Afghanistan with the 20th Engineer Battalion, 36th Engineer Brigade.

Kellogg was one of 151 “Lumberjack” soldiers to return to their families and loved ones on Cameron Field on Wednesday afternoon. He was greeted by his wife, Jami Kellogg, who donned a specially made tank top and sported a patriotic-themed pedicure.

“I’m just ready to get back to normal life,” she said.

Elements of the Lumberjack Battalion began deploying in February 2012, and the battalion headquarters is the final piece to return to Fort Hood.

“The contributions they’ve made to Afghan independence, assured mobility and construction in Regional Command-South have been phenomenal,” said Lt. Col. Jason Kelly, battalion commander.

While each company deployed with separate missions, the Lumberjacks were the only multifunctional engineer battalion in the region, serving as a headquarters for other engineer companies from different installations and the Army Reserves.

Task Force Lumberjack not only performed route clearance, but also conducted a construction mission and played a major role in the development of the Afghan National Army engineers.

Of all the Lumberjacks’ successes, Kelly said he is most proud of the safety streamer earned by each of his companies that recognized there were no major accidents in the last 12 months.

“I’ve never been in a battalion where all the companies got streamers,” Kelly said.

As his soldiers were released on a four-day weekend, he said they all committed to continue to keep safety a priority.

“All of these soldiers are and should be pleased with their service,” Kelly said. “I’m very happy. It’s also good to see friends of the battalion and families welcome us home.”

Shardae Pigue greeted her husband, Sgt. Christopher Pigue, alongside her two daughters and a handful of other close relatives.

“I think he deserves it,” she said of the big family welcome. “We’re looking forward just to reuniting.”

Contact Rose L. Thayer at rthayer@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.

Rose L. Thayer is the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. She joined the paper in February 2011 as a health and military reporter. View her complete profile Here.

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