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FORT HOOD — Family members, friends and fellow soldiers gathered Friday at Abrams Physical Fitness Center to welcome home 127 troopers from Fort Hood’s 3rd Cavalry Regimen following a nine-month deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.

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AUSTIN, Texas — The new adjutant general for the Texas Military Department took over from Maj. Gen. John F. Nichols on Jan. 1 and will publicly take command during a change-of-command ceremony at Camp Mabry in Austin on Saturday.

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The majority of the roughly 700 Fort Hood soldiers deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border in South Texas in early November 2018 are back at home, but a small number of troops still remain to support U.S. Customs and Border Protection, according to a Fort Hood spokesman.

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Fort Hood is currently conducting large controlled burns on the installation, according to the post Range Control office. The smoke that can be seen by area residents is from those controlled burns.

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As top brass from the Pentagon come up with a plan to pull the remaining 2,000 U.S. troops out of Syria following an order from President Donald Trump that surprised many, a large Fort Hood unit deployed to help destroy the Islamic State group is winding down its nine-month deployment.

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HARKER HEIGHTS — The Killeen Height’s Vet Center hosted a holiday open house this week. It was the facility’s first in-house event since a renovation was recently completed.

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HARKER HEIGHTS — The weather on Saturday was a balmy 70 degrees but that didn’t dampen the wintry Christmas spirit of folks at Operation Phantom Support’s Touch of Christmas Bazaar in Harker Heights. Santa read books to children while grown-ups shopped or watched football in the Moose Lodge.

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FORT HOOD — For the next two weeks, selected military families will be visiting Santa’s Workshop located right next door to the Fort Hood Clear Creak Commissary to receive brand-new children’s toys for Christmas.

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Pflugerville, Texas-based nonprofit Celebration of Love is now collecting toys for its 13th annual mission of ensuring all children of Fort Hood troops have a good Christmas meal and presents under the tree through its Soldiers of America Program.

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The Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery in Killeen will conduct an unaccompanied veteran burial for Leon Taylor, a United States Army veteran, at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

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Fort Hood officials on Monday released the identification of a civilian found dead Nov. 20 in the vicinity of Belton Lake and Outdoor Recreation Area.