Story and photos by Pfc. Andrew Ingram
1st Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division
Family, friends and comrades of 4th Engineer Battalion welcomed home Soldiers of 576th Engineer Company, returning to Fort Carson after a yearlong deployment, during a ceremony at the Special Events Center, July 19.
As the “No Slack” Soldiers stood in formation, Lt. Col. Daniel Hibner, commander, 4th Eng. Bn., thanked the sappers and their Families for their sacrifices in defense of the nation.
“Thank you to all the wonderful Families in attendance, some of whom, like these proud Soldiers, came all the way from overseas to share in this great moment,” Hibner said.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I give you these rough men of the 576th Eng. Company, back from the very tip of the spear,” he said.
At the command of “Dismissed,” the Soldiers and their loved ones sprinted across the floor to embrace one another.
“It feels great to be back home with my kids and my wife,” said Sgt. James Penelton, combat engineer, 576th Eng. “I’m going to spend as much time with them before I head to (the Sapper Leader Course). My son is even going to help me train; he’s going to ride his bike, and I’m going to run behind and try to keep up with him.”
Penelton’s wife, Krystal, said she has trouble describing how happy she is to have her husband home.
“It’s just so amazing,” she said. “I’m speechless.”
In Afghanistan, the 576th Eng. Soldiers worked with the 14th Engineer Battalion in the Helmand province, conducting route clearance missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
“They created safe passage for thousands of U.S. and coalition servicemembers, and no doubt prevented countless injuries and deaths through the execution of their mission,” said Hibner.