Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 62nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, stepped onto Texas soil for the first time in more than nine months March 11 and 14 after successfully completing their mission in Southwest Asia.

Nearly a year ago, battalion soldiers had 96 hours upon receiving their orders to board aircraft and depart Fort Hood for a mission of “guarding the skies” in the U.S. Central Command Area of Operations.

Although the final push for the deploying troops happened within three days, the preparation began months in advance with training exercises and planning. The extensive training soldiers needed to undertake before the start of the mission meant that time with their families was sacrificed before the official mission in Southwest Asia began.Families and friends greeted the soldiers alongside the brigade’s command team. “You took on this mission that no one else in the world would, and you did it with class,” said Col. Brian W. Gibson, brigade commander.

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