392nd ESB returns from nine-month deployment to Middle East

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Story by SSG Ken Scar on 02/08/2017
FORT HOOD, Texas Some 300 weary but excited members of the 392nd Expeditionary Signal Battalion gathered in Fort Hood's Howze Theater Monday, February 6 to celebrate being back on American soil after spending nine months scattered across the Middle East providing signal support for a wide range of U.S. and allied units.

Maj. Gen. Peter Bosse, commander of the 335th Signal Command (Theater), was there to welcome them home and hand out commemorative American flags to those who were on their first deployment which was the vast majority.

"Welcome back - I bow my Stetson to you!" said Bosse, referring to his 1st Calvary Division (which is based at Fort Hood) headwear. "[You] mobilized March 27th, 2016 in support of U.S. Army Central Command and Third Army for three major operations Spartan Shield, Inherent Resolve and Freedom's Sentinel. I would also like to take a moment to recognize the 392nd rear detachment who maintained the home front by continuing operations and taking care of Soldiers and their families. Their efforts contributed significantly to the success of the battalion's deployment."

The 392nd was based out of Camp Buehring, Kuwait but its Soldiers literally scattered in all directions after hitting the ground to provide strategic and tactical signal support anywhere they were needed which added up to twenty remote sites in seven countries.

"In Iraq, the battalion supported five tactical communication sites, and provided six direct signal support teams for Operation Inherent Resolve. In Afghanistan, the 392nd provided five DSST's for Operation Freedom's Sentinel; and provided communications support for 16 Army air defense artillery sites, three battalion headquarters, and one brigade headquarters for Operation Spartan Shield."

Bosse proudly pointed out that, amid all of those missions, the battalion even found a way to make some Signal history.

"Not only were you working in several locations on many different missions, but the 392nd ESB was the first signal unit to conduct depot-level repairs on five of their Satellite Transportable Terminal feed tray assemblies, while in theater," said Bosse. "This saved the Army countless hours of maintenance down-time and thousands of dollars in shipping costs. Great job, Soldiers!"

There is really only one thing that makes an overseas deployment successful, said Charlie Company 1st Sgt. Carlson Cox.

"We were able to accomplish our task without any injuries or anyone getting significantly hurt," he said. "All the people that we brought over either left early or came back in one piece. That to me is a successful operation."

Nine months away from family can be taxing for any Soldier, said Cox, but it can be particularly hard for those on their first deployment which made up the bulk of the 392nd on this mission.

"It's difficult being away from home," he explained. "This was a lot of folks' first deployment. A guy like me - who has been in the Army 19 years, with four overseas tours - I'm used to the separation, the long nights alone without the family but to them this was very, very rough."

Bravo Company 1st Sgt. Leandrew Williams agreed, "Being a veteran of deployment, I tried to prepare them for how it was going to be. I think we did great until about November, December. The closer we got to coming home, the harder it got for everybody but overall we were rock stars."

One of the most valuable experiences was getting to work with Soldiers from other branches of the service and other countries, said Capt. Floyd Lewis, the battalion administration officer.

"The soldiers were very professional and interacted not only with other Army Reserve personnel but with National Guard and foreign personnel," said Floyd. "They got the full experience. Not only did they mobilize as reservists but they did it under an active duty brigade, so they got to interact with the active component on a daily basis as well as with some National Guard folks that extended their stay to be with us in our formation. They all represented America in a positive light. We got very good feedback from our customers."

Now that they were back home, Bosse encouraged the Soldiers to take the time to communicate and adjust as they get reacquainted with their loved ones pointing out that no less than eight of the returning Soldiers in the room were coming home to new babies.

"In the ten months you've been apart, I'm sure many of you have changed. Keep in mind that your family has probably changed too," he said. "thank your families for sustaining everything at home while you were deployed. Recognize the sacrifices they made in your absence that allowed you to focus on your mission overseas. And remember, take time with one another and be kind.

"The 392nd Expeditionary Signal Battalion has earned the respect of ALL the leaders, individuals, and units you supported," he continued. "Your outstanding efforts have significantly contributed to the history of the unit, the Signal Corps and the United States Army Reserve. Each one of you should be extremely proud of your accomplishments. Welcome home Warrior Citizens! Ready Lightning!

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