Story and photos by Dustin Senger
More than 100 Army Reserve Soldiers marched into the Special Events Center at Fort Carson
Dec. 9, after providing almost a year of construction services in Iraq.
Hundreds of Family members and friends cheered the arrival of 110 Soldiers from the 282nd Engineer Company, headquartered at Fort Carson. The Army Reserve unit from Grand Junction had supported the transition from Operation Iraqi Freedom to Operation New Dawn, which formally ended U.S. military combat operations in Iraq Sept. 1.
Capt. Mark Hunter, 282nd Engineer Company forward commander, dismissed his war fighters at the Mountain Post under a glow of festive lights, holiday decorations and loved ones.
“The Army kept us busy, day after day,” said Spc. Caleb Ekwall after embracing his wife, Michelle Ekwall, and son, Aden, 6. The Soldiers completed numerous projects in Iraq, which included building bridges and clearing roadways.
“This feels incredible,” said Master Sgt. Anthony Sours after reuniting with his wife, Tresa Sours, and daughter, Caitlin, 11. The Family trio relied on Internet-based real-time chat software to keep in touch while separated more than 7,000 miles.
“I got the real thing now,” said Anthony Sours, as Caitlin’s arms wrapped around his waist.
“When you come back,” he said, referring to combat deployments, “you appreciate all the little things much more – family dinners, bicycle rides in the evenings. It gives you a different perspective.