Signal Soldiers return home after successful deployment

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Story by SFC Brent Powell on 10/24/2017
NORTH FORT HOOD, Texas Nearly 50 Army Reserve Soldiers put their boots back on American soil here a few days ago after being deployed for almost twelve months to Southwest Asia in the ongoing war on terrorism.

The Soldiers are from Detachment 4, 335th Signal Command (Theater), headquartered in East Point, Georgia. They deployed last October with the mission of engineering, installing, operating, maintaining and defending network operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Spartan Shield.

To recognize their accomplishments and officially welcome them home, the warriors were invited to a special ceremony here Oct. 23.

The ceremony is part of the Welcome Home Warrior Citizen Program designed to recognize each Army Reserve Soldier who has served in the Global War on Terrorism. The program's goal is to provide an appropriate, timely and enduring memento to Soldiers and their families to convey in a small way the nation's gratitude for their selfless service and sacrifice.

"What an honor it is to be here this evening," said Brig. Gen. Nikki Griffin-Olive, deputy commanding general, support, 335th SC (T). "On behalf of Maj. Gen. Pete Bosse, commanding general, 335th Signal Command (Theater), and a grateful nation, welcome home.

Almost a year ago you departed from the safe borders of the United States to uphold and defend the Constitution and keep our nation free, supporting almost two decades of ongoing operations in Southwest Asia."

Olive took a few minutes to talk to the Soldiers about the sacrifices they had made and the many significant national events that had taken place while they had been deployed. She also discussed the importance of their contributions.

"The Nation owes you and your families a debt of gratitude," she said. "You have provided strategic and tactical communications in support of three major named operations and critical command and control to all the major headquarters, joint and coalition partners."

One of the returning Soldiers at the ceremony was Staff Sgt. Rene Ordonez, a native of El Paso, Texas and a project manager for Det. 4, 335th SC (T). "It's definitely been an interesting deployment," he said. "It gave me a lot of exposure with senior staff and helped me build my project management skills and I've also made some lifelong friends and mentors in the process."

Ordonez wasn't the only Soldier to gain something from the deployment. "This really helped me learn and understand operations orders and build on my information technology skills," said Sgt. Irvin Hernandez, a native of Los Angeles, California and information management officer, Det. 4, 335th SC (T). "It was a good experience, but I'm very happy to be back in the United States."

The ceremony concluded with Olive and Command Sgt. Maj. Ronnie Farmer, command sergeant major, 335th SC (T) presenting each Soldier with an American flag encased in a wooden display, a lapel pin for the Soldier and their spouse, a commemorative coin and a "Welcome Home Warrior Citizen" flag. Those who had received the items previously were presented with a certificate of appreciation.

With the deployment now behind them, the group will spend a few days here completing the redeployment and reintegration process before returning to their homes and families.

"Many heartfelt thanks to you and your families for your sacrifice and your unwavering commitment to our Army and our Nation," concluded Olive. "All the best to you. Godspeed and blessings."

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