101st Airborne Division Returns from Iraq Deployment
By Sgt. Jeanine Kinville
Special to American Forces Press Service
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky., Sep. 17, 2006 Leaders of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and Task Force Band of Brothers marked the division’s return here from Iraq by uncasing the unit colors in a homecoming ceremony Sept. 15.
Maj. Gen. Thomas R. Turner, division commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Frank Grippe, division command sergeant major, reported to 18th Airborne Corps Commander, Lt. Gen. John Vines, and uncased the unit colors.
Thousands of “Screaming Eagle” soldiers who formed Task Force Band of Brothers, alongside several other units, have returned over the past few weeks from their yearlong deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
More than 1,000 soldiers returned Sept. 15, which marked the return of over 11,000 soldiers and half of the division.
“We are proud of what the division has accomplished over the past year in northern Iraq,” said Turner. “But, we return with no illusions about this war. We are home to prepare for our next rendezvous.”
With reintegration as the next step for the 101st, Turner acknowledged the soldiers who helped accomplish the mission for Iraq and the global war on terrorism.
“You, the American soldier, you are the most precious system we have,” Turner said. “There is nothing heading our way on a ship or a plane more critical to winning this war than you. You have learned over the past year that it is not the technology or latest equipment that sees you through, it’s the Screaming Eagle on your left and right that assured victory.”
While in Iraq, Task Force Band of Brothers, based in Tikrit, was responsible for operations in Multinational Division North, which included nearly all of the country’s land north of Baghdad.
During the deployment, soldiers trained thousands of Iraqi security forces personnel and helped rebuild Iraqi infrastructure by providing operational assistance and security. Civil operations helped rebuild schools, provided job assistance for Iraqis and promoted economic growth for the region.
Two Iraqi army divisions also assumed responsibility for security in their respective areas with the help of Task Force Band of Brothers.
With two 101st brigade combat teams, the 2nd and 4th BCTs, still in Iraq under Task Force Baghdad, Turner looks forward to their arrival back to Fort Campbell through November.
“We pray for the safe returns of those Screaming Eagle brother and sisters still engaged in Iraq,” Turner said.
The 25th Infantry Division from Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, assumed responsibility of Multinational Division North from Task Force Band of Brothers Sep. 13 in Tikrit on Contingency Operating Base Speicher.