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More than 200 1st Cavalry soldiers return to Fort Hood

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Posted: Friday, December 7, 2007 12:00 pm | Updated: 4:54 pm, Wed Aug 15, 2012.

By Amanda Kim Stairrett

Killeen Daily Herald

FORT HOOD – Cathy Goins welcomed her husband back from Iraq late Wednesday night with a huge hug.

Once his formation was dismissed, she ran, jumped in his arms and wrapped her legs around him. It wasn't hard to spot Lt. Col. Morris Goins in the formation of more than 200 soldiers – he is tall and he was the lone soldier who led the formation across the 1st Cavalry Division parade field.

Goins commands the 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment.

Cathy and "Mo," as she calls him, were married just nine months ago when he was home on leave. The two have known each other for two years, meeting through a mutual friend.

The lieutenant colonel has deployed to Iraq three times; this one has been "absolutely the hardest," Cathy said, because of the number of casualties the battalion has sustained. Since deploying in late 2006, more than 20 of the battalion's soldiers have died in Iraq.

"Just having to watch him it's been hard," Cathy said.

The most important thing she can do as a wife is be there for him and support him emotionally, she said. That's what she does as a spouse on the homefront: support her soldier and what he does. Besides family members, the other biggest supporter Mo has back home is the battalion's rear detachment, led by Capt. Greg Royse.

"Without him, we'd all be sunk," Cathy said of Royse.

"Being a wife isn't that hard – that guy's job is hard."

The 1st Cavalry's rear detachment could be called the unsung heroes of a deployment. It's a job that people don't appreciate, Cathy said. When a unit deploys, a certain number of soldiers are selected to stay on post to take care of families and wounded soldiers, and preparing incoming soldiers for deployment.

Their other role, which Royse said is the toughest one of all, is handling arrangements when a soldier dies.

He remembered the funeral for a soldier who was buried on Memorial Day. Royse described how members of the Patriot Guard were there to show their support for the soldier and his family. It was "very emotional," he said.

Royse, who turns 31 years old today, deployed to Iraq in 2004 with the 1st Cavalry and said his experience serving on the rear detachment will be valuable when he takes command of a company after the division returns.

Royse, like many members serving in the rear detachment, has been tied to his cell phone since the division deployed.

It's a 24/7 job that has taught him "how to be a commander." Issues that come up in a rear detachment are magnified compared to what he would see in a regular company, Royse said, because families don't have soldiers at home to solve their problems. They then look to soldiers in the rear detachment.

Col. Larry Phelps, rear commander of the 1st Cavalry, instituted a leave policy similar to that of the deployed soldiers. Those serving in the rear detachment get 15 days of leave during the deployment.

Contact Amanda Kim Stairrett at astair@kdhnews.com or call (254) 501-7547

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