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1st BCT packed, out of Ramadi, heading home
Main redeployment of 3rd ID starting
First Brigade Combat Team containers are loaded onto a truck for transportation back home. After a 15-month tour in Anbar province, the 1st BCT is saying goodbye and going home to Fort Stewart. - photo by Photo by Spc. Ricardo Branch
CAMP RAMADI, Iraq -- After a 15-month tour in Anbar province, the 1st Brigade Combat Team is saying goodbye and coming home to Fort Stewart.
"We started the process of redeploying over 100 days ago," said 1st Lt. Tessha Jones, unit movement coordinator for 1-3 Brigade Troops Battalion.
The Raider brigade soldiers are spread all over Iraq. Many are stationed in Ramadi and others have been spread out across Anbar, including Fallujah, Hit, Rutbah, Al Taqaddam, and even south of Baghdad in Arab Jabar.
"Our brigade is so fluid and flexible that the job of going home is going smoothly," Jones said. "Redeployment tasks were broken down into sections to handle getting us home, from air to ground assets to transport us all back."
The task is a challenging one for the brigade but soldiers put in lots of hard work and dedication to get them home.
"It's a pretty interesting operation because in one regard, it's very easy, no matter how much work there is to do, no one minds doing the hard work," brigade executive officer Lt. Col. Douglas Winton said. "Everyone is very motivated and energetic to get the redeployment done. It means you're going home, which is the best work that you can possibly be doing."
The mission for the soldiers has changed. It's not to conduct combat operations anymore.
"Our mission is to redeploy to reset our equipment, and a reset of our soldiers," Winton said. "A combat unit can only sustain itself for so long before they need to come back to home station. The Army rotates units through Iraq to maintain that combat efficiency."
He said the brigade soldiers have been through a lot in their time and earned their time home.
"These soldiers have fought hard for the last 15-months and made tremendous sacrifices to accomplish some really incredible things while we were deployed here and all deserve a break," Winton said. "They are going to go home, travel to new units and take some time off from what they did here for Iraq."
During the deployment, soldiers cleared insurgents out of Ramadi in six weeks and moved out to hunt them wherever he tried to hide. The soldiers returning to Fort Stewart will spend time remembering the experiences of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
"You get to go back home and reflect on everything you have accomplished, how much you've grown as a person, as a leader, or as a subordinate," Jones said.
The feeling the deployment caused will forever change a person. Most soldiers in any position are feeling one thing, excitement to go home.
"I'm very excited but have been here so long that I've adapted, become more tolerant of many things and appreciate things at home more," Jones said. "I'm happy all around and that's what got me through this."
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