The Bayonet

Tuesday, Apr. 22, 2014

Soldiers reunited with loved ones after 9 months

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After a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan, nearly 20 Soldiers assigned to the 497th Movement Control Team, 203rd Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, returned to greet their loved ones April 18 during a welcome home ceremony at Lawson Army Airfield.

The 497th MCT's mission at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, was to provide movement control and in-transit visibility for more than 35,000 transportation assets in support of retrograde, redeployment, and redistribution operations.

"The team cleared a backlog of more than 3,000 movement requests, which reduced fraudulent claims against the government and managed 96 contracted personnel for contracts valued at $1.7 million," said Lt. Col. Brent D. Coryell, 203rd BSB commander.

Coryell also said the 497th MCT partnered with Slovak, Bulgarian, and other NATO forces to increase force protection measures at Kandahar's two major entry control points and assisted with the closure of 14 bases and the preparation for closures at Forward Operating Base Shank and Forward Operating Base Ghazni.

"They revitalized a $55 million trucking contract by creating tracking systems that provided in-transit visibility, determined usage and expenditures," Coryell added. On the command "dismissed," the Soldiers dashed to embrace their family and friends.

"The hardest thing for me was to leave my 2- and 8-year-old children," said Sgt. Arthashikia Bryant, an automated logistical specialist assigned to the movement control team. "I had just got to the unit and found out we were deploying in less than 30 days."

Not really knowing the Soldiers she was deploying with and working with the different cultures made the deployment challenging, Bryant said.

"Having Staff Sgt. McCall there as my go-to person helped me. She steered me in the right direction," said Bryant. "Not only did I have my family, but I had someone actually there to lean on and McCall took me under her wing."

Bryant said she is excited about returning home and is planning a wedding for this coming June.

Looking ahead, it's now about Family time and getting Soldiers reintegrated.

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