Story and photos by Geoffrey Roper
Twenty-seven Soldiers from the 71st Ordnance Group (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) returned March 26 from a 12-month deployment, in support of Combined Joint Task Force Troy at Camp Victory in Baghdad.
Friends and Family came out to the Special Events Center early in the morning to welcome them home.
These Soldiers provided direct support to four division-level headquarters and 15 brigade and regimental combat teams through the integration of EOD forces into counter-improvised device operations.
The 71st EOD conducted more than 6,500 missions resulting in the destruction of 235,500 pounds of explosives, during their deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Cora Burke, wife of Sgt. Maj. Sean Burke, put her feelings into words after finally seeing her husband after a yearlong deployment.
“I honestly can’t. I’m just glad to have him home,” she said.
Sgt. Jonathan Hornby had his mother, Pat, and two sisters waiting for him at the welcome-home ceremony, and not for the first time.
“This is his second deployment, and I’m glad he’s back safe and sound,” said Pat.
He felt the same way.
“It’s fantastic. It seems like we’d never come home because a year is so long being in Iraq,” said Hornby.
Maj. Gen. David G. Perkins, commanding general, 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson, spoke during the welcome-home ceremony, stating the evolution of dangers Soldiers in war have faced throughout the United States’ history. He said these men and women from the 71st
EOD faced the newest danger, improvised explosive devices, and did so with honor, saving countless military and civilian lives in the process.