By Andy Ross
Killeen Daily Herald
FORT HOOD — The first wave of troops from the 5th Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division touched down at Fort Hood Saturday afternoon, completing a yearlong deployment to Iraq.
The battalion, which was based in Mosul, spent the past year providing training and tactical support to Iraqi army forces.
Among the roughly 130 soldiers arriving at Robert Gray Army Airfield was 1st Sgt. Mario Lindsey, Bravo Company, 5th Battalion.
“It feels great,” Lindsey said, referring to being home. “Right now, I’m just making sure all my soldiers are getting home; and then after the (homecoming) ceremony, I’m going to spend time with my family.”
The majority of the remaining troops from the 5th Battalion are expected to arrive at Fort Hood today.
Sgt. Maj. Michael Belle, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, joined the 5th Battalion on the flight home.
Belle’s battalion, which was stationed in Kirkuk, also worked with the Iraqi Security Forces and Iraqi police in an advise-and-assist capacity. Belle said he had just completed his second deployment and the experience of arriving home is the “greatest feeling.”
“I believe we did a very good job and the police are better trained now, and all the ISF are better than when we got there,” Belle said. “It will take some time, though. Eight to 10 years from now we’ll see.”
After the soldiers turned in their weapons and finished processing, they loaded onto buses and headed toward the homecoming ceremony to greet family and friends.
Steve Foster, a retired Army veteran who manages processing for deployments and arrivals at Fort Hood, said days like Saturday are the ones he prefers.
“It’s always good seeing the kids come home,” he said. “It’s hard pushing them out, but it’s really good to see them home.”