Families and friends waited anxiously outside Charles B. Allen Hall, the 41st Field Artillery Brigade headquarters building, May 6 for the soldiers of the brigade’s Headquarters and Headquarters Battery to return from a nine-month deployment to Kuwait.
The celebration kicked off with music as the two white buses carrying the redeploying soldiers pulled in front of the brigade’s headquarters. After getting off the bus, the soldiers marched up to the building where a short color uncasing ceremony was held before they were turned over to their families and friends.
The return home held surprises for the returning soldiers and their families.
One middle school student, Ashley Oros, received a big surprise during the middle of her day. Sgt. 1st Class Israel Oros, a technology specialist, returned to Fort Hood with the rest of the deployed soldiers and was greeted by his wife and son at the ceremony. After grabbing lunch, the family made its way to Ashley’s school for the big moment.
While Ashley was in music class, Oros, her father, interrupted to take her out of school for the day to spend time with the rest of the family. The whole event left Ashley, her classmates and school officials teary-eyed and speechless.
Other homecomings involved soldiers seeing the babies they left behind nine months ago, now as toddlers walking and talking.
The hardest part of the deployment was being away from his family, said Spc. Samuel Rivas, a field artillery automated tactical data system specialist. When he left for Kuwait his daughter was 9 months old and was only crawling, and now she is running and starting to talk.
The Rivas family was able to stay in contact through the use of video chat and other electronic communication, said the soldier’s spouse, Kimberly Rivas.
During the deployment the majority of the soldiers were deployed to Kuwait, but some were spread out in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
The unit supported U.S. Army Central Command as the Force Artillery Headquarters where it was responsible for all artillery operations within theater, said Col. William McRae, brigade commander. “In every regard, we did everything we could to support and enhance U.S. Army Central’s mission.”