Story and photo by Spc. Nathan Thome
4th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office
When Sgt. 1st Class Richard Britton arrived at the Special Events Center Feb. 13 following a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan, he had a reception he was not expecting.
Britton’s parents, who live in Pennsylvania, were there to welcome home the Soldier with 569th Mobility Augmentation Company, 4th Engineer Battalion.
“I had no idea they were going to be here,” said Britton. “I can’t even put a word on how it feels. I’m so ecstatic. I’m at a loss for words.”
The 569th MAC “Assassins” deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, last February. While stationed at Forward Operating Base Spin Boldak, the Soldiers cleared more than 26,000 kilometers of routes and neutralized more than 250 improvised explosive devices and unexploded ordinance.
Brig. Gen. Darsie Rogers, deputy commanding general for support, 4th Inf. Div. and Fort Carson, addressed Soldiers and Families at the event, speaking of his pride in the Soldiers.
“Assassins, welcome home, job well done and thank you for your service; we’re proud of every one of you,” said Rogers. “And to our Families, friends and loyal supporters from the community, thank you for your wonderful service and support as well. We could not do our job without your love and support. Thanks for being here tonight.”
Because of their direct support to the area of operation for Regional Command (South), 569th MAC allowed the command to spearhead an operation in late June to the far southern Shorabok District, a location no U.S. forces had reached by ground in more than three years, according to officials.
The Assassins’ success rate with finding IEDs led to the best record in Afghanistan with a 75-percent discovery rate, and the most ground penetrating radar IED finds of any unit in the country, officials said.
The 569th MAC’s impact on its area of operations enabled four battalion-sized task forces to accomplish their missions without IED-related casualties on their cleared routes. The aid provided by the Assassins also supported at least 20 operations and helped the Afghan National Security Forces in the area, officials said.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Soldiers and Families rushed to each other, embracing their loved ones for the first time in a year.
“I’m just so excited that my husband’s home,” said Andrea Britton, wife of Richard Britton.
After a long awaited arrival, Families left the SEC to spend much-needed quality time together.
“This is just an all-around amazing day,” said Richard Britton. “I’m home, I’m with my Family, and that’s all I can really ask for.”