Family, friends and fellow soldiers welcomed home more than 120 soldiers with the 232nd Engineer Company, Warriors‚ 94th Engineer Battalion, 4th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, at a redeployment ceremony honoring their return at Swift Fitness Center here, Oct. 8.
The unit returned from a nine-month deployment where the company was split between Kuwait and Afghanistan.
“What was unique about our mission is that the company was double deployed. We were deployed to Kuwait and then forward-deployed to Afghanistan,” said Capt. Mohammad Waseem, commander, 232nd En. Co., 94th En Bn., 4th MEB, 1st Inf. Div.
“Our Soldiers completed more than 50 missions in nine months time. We all came home in one piece and got the job done, so for any commander that is a really, really proud moment” said Waseem.
Maj. Gen. Leslie C. Smith, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general, spoke at the ceremony.
“The reason why we are free is not because of the folks who work in Washington. The reason why we are free is because of these young troopers that we have standing in front of us today,” said Smith.
Family members of all ages attended, one of whom was three-week-old Bailey Hutfles, the daughter of April and Sgt. Matthew Hutfles, who met her father for the first time at the ceremony.
“We used Skype for her birth. I was induced so he was able to help coach me and when she popped out, and they laid her on my chest, he got to see her for the first time,” said April Hutfles.
Sgt. Matthew Hutfles, native of Odessa, Mo., a team leader with 232nd En. Co., 94th En Bn., 4th MEB, 1st Inf. Div., said he was very excited to meet his daughter and was glad to be home.
Smith asked the soldiers and families to reflect on their feelings during this reunion.
“Families, remember this day when times are hard. Remember how your heart feels today about your Soldier coming back,” said Smith.