FORT HOOD — More than 300 soldiers with the 1st Cavalry Division’s 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team were greeted with cheers and tears Friday afternoon when they returned to Fort Hood after a nine-month rotation in Europe.
Among the families reunited with the soldiers at 1st Cavalry’s Cooper Field, was Maria Vazquez and her 2-year-old daughter Camila. Friday was the first time Maria was held by her husband since Sgt. Angel Vazquez left for the rotation.
“I’m speechless, it’s like falling in love again,” Sgt. Vazquez said between wiping away tears and smiling.
For others like Alison Rodriguez, this is the time to prepare for their newest addition to their family which her husband has only seen through photos and video messaging.
“I got like butterflies in my stomach right now. I can’t wait to see him and for us to become a family,” said Rodriguez as she awaited her husband’s return during the homecoming ceremony.
The brigade has spent the past nine months participated in several multi-national training exercises in Poland, Georgia, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, and Germany.
The brigade also participated in several parades and attended memorial services commemorating past Allied accomplishments. Many of these events were historic as they marked the first time there had ever been an American military presence participating.
Brigade commander Col. Wilson Rutherford, couldn’t be prouder of the work that his team accomplished.
“Every day was a different challenge but with the soldiers from the brigade feeling trusted and empowered trying to figure things out, we had some of the best solutions come from the lowest levels,” he said.
Now that the soldiers are home, Rutherford said, they will have block leave for 30 days to spend time reintegrating with their families. After which they will be preparing for their next mission.
During live-fire exercises in Europe, the brigade fired 7,432 tank rounds, 40,007 25mm Bradley rounds, 19,856 artillery rounds, 3,665 mortar rounds, 1,801,664 small arms rounds and 16,463 pounds of explosives to include mines, signal flares, detonating cord and artillery simulators.
Most of the brigade’s 3,500 soldiers have been returning from Europe over the last few weeks.