Wrangler Brigade Soldiers Return from and Depart to Iraq

By Sgt. 1st Class Erick Ritterby
Chief, Public Affairs
4th Sustainment Brigade

FORT HOOD, Texas — In the span of 24 hours, the 4th Sustainment Brigade welcomed home three units and said goodbye to another.

Applause and screams reverberated off of the walls inside the Kieschnick physical fitness center Apr. 9 as families and friends were reunited with the Soldiers of the 49th Movement Control Battalion just after midnight.

"I have never seen so many little kids jumping with excitement this late at night," joked Col. Ron Kirklin, the Wrangler Brigade commander. "It's great to have the whole team back home for the unit and especially for the families."

Kirklin said he wants his returning troops to focus on spending quality time with their families during the first few months they are home as the unit reintegrates itself back into the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) at Fort Hood.

Lt. Col John Hickey is another unit commander who said he is very happy to have the 49ers back.

"I am a little sad too because I have to say goodbye to a few beloved movement control teams that have been working with our battalion," said Hickey, the commander of the 4th Brigade Troops Battalion.

Hickey and his team helped manage the 259th, 80th, and 151st Movement Control Teams while the 49th MCB was deployed. "They will be tucking themselves back under their parent battalion headquarters next month," he said.

"You know, it is tough being away and it is great coming home, and I want to thank the entire Wrangler Brigade for taking care of our home team while we were gone," said Lt. Col. Peter Haas, the commander of the 49ers. "I also want to thank everyone who came out to greet us with such style and class tonight."

While in Balad, Iraq, the 49th helped drawdown more than a third of U.S. troops and equipment out of the country during their 12-month tour.

"I believe it was our destiny to go to Iraq when we did," said Haas. "We cased our colors a year ago today on April 9th, and if you look at the short hand of that date it is four and nine. 49ers never stop!"

"Being here is kind of surreal, but it is so wonderful to be back," said Maj. Barrett Lynch, the executive officer for the 49th. "It doesn't really sink in and feel like your home until you actually wake up here."

The 571st Movement Control Team also joined the 49th on the return trip home from Iraq to reunite with the Wrangler Family.

"The Soldiers from the 49th and 571st have made us all proud. If it moved in Iraq, it moved because of those two units, and tonight they are home." said Kirklin. "I want to thank all the families and friends of these units who took care of the home front so our Soldiers could take care of business while they were deployed."

The evening was bittersweet for the Wrangler Team because the 80th Movement Control Team deployed to Iraq just hours before the 49th, their battalion headquarters, returned home.

"The 80th played a key role in providing transportation management for much of our mission support," said Hickey. "They really went the extra mile during their train-up at the Port of Beaumont, and that will serve them well on their tour."

The Wrangler Brigade also welcomed back four more Soldiers from Haiti later that afternoon. The 502nd Postal Platoon deployed in support of Operation Unified Response Feb. 8 to set up and run an Army post office in Port-au-Prince.

"The 502nd delivered the first personal mail from the U.S. to American troops throughout the country," said Maj. Susan Manion, the executive officer for the Wolfpack Battalion. "In fact, they received and distributed more than 5,000 bags of mail."

The remaining four Soldiers from the 502nd are scheduled to return from Haiti mid-April.

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Fresh from Iraq, 84 Soldiers from the 49th Movement Control Battalion and 571st Movement Control Team, 4th Sustainment Brigade saluted the American flag as the National Anthem played during their redeployment ceremony in the Kieschnick physical fitness center at Fort Hood, Texas Apr. 9. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Erick Ritterby)

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The unit colors from the 49th Movement Control Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade were uncased in a redeployment ceremony at Fort Hood, Texas Apr. 9. The colors were cased exactly one year ago when the unit deployed to Balad, Iraq. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Erick Ritterby)

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Lt. Col. Peter Haas, the commander of the 49th Movement Control Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade, addressed the unit's friends and families inside the Kieschnick physical fitness center at Fort Hood, Texas Apr. 9 before he dismissed his Soldiers for a four-day weekend. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Erick Ritterby)

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Confetti fell as friends and families welcomed back the Soldiers from the 49th Movement Control Battalion and 571st Movement Control Team, 4th Sustainment Brigade in a raucous ceremony inside the Kieschnick physical fitness center at Fort Hood, Texas Apr. 9. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Erick Ritterby)

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The Soldiers from the 49th Movement Control Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade ran inside the Kieschnick physical fitness center at Fort Hood, Texas through a cloak of fog Apr. 9 as families and friends welcomed them home from year-long deployment to Iraq. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Erick Ritterby)

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Applause and screams reverberated off of the walls inside the Kieschnick physical fitness center at Fort Hood, Texas Apr. 9 as families and friends welcomed home the Soldiers of the 49th Movement Control Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade from Iraq. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Erick Ritterby)

 

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Soldiers from the 49th Movement Control Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade returned to Fort Hood, Texas Apr. 9 after a 12-month deployment in Balad, Iraq. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Erick Ritterby)

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More than 100 friends and families packed the bleachers inside the Kieschnick physical fitness center at Fort Hood, Texas Apr. 9 to welcome home the Soldiers from the 49th Movement Control Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade after their deployment to Balad, Iraq. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Erick Ritterby)

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Soldiers from the 49th Movement Control Battalion and 571st Movement Control Team, 4th Sustainment Brigade were reunited with their loved ones after a brief ceremony inside the Kieschnick physical fitness center at Fort Hood, Texas Apr. 9. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Erick Ritterby)

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Maj. Barrett Lynch, the executive officer for the 49th Movement Control Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade posed with his family inside the Kieschnick physical fitness center at Fort Hood, Texas Apr. 9. Lynch returned with 84 other 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Soldiers from a year-long deployment in Iraq. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Erick Ritterby)