Fort Campbell, KY – Soldiers of the 101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), returned to Fort Campbell, Ky., Feb. 15, after successfully completing a nine-month deployment in Afghanistan. More than 280 members of the brigade headquarters and the 101st Special Troops Battalion have returned from deployment during the past month.
Before returning to Fort Campbell, the 101st Sustainment Brigade conducted a transfer of authority ceremony to the 10th Sustainment Brigade out of Fort Drum, N.Y.
During the deployment, which was the third in five years for the brigade headquarters, the brigade had responsibility for sustainment operations and retrograde support. The “Lifeliners” originally assumed this responsibility for the eastern and northern portions of Afghanistan, but in December, the unit assumed responsibility for all of Afghanistan.
During the TOA ceremony, Col. Charles Hamilton, commander of the 101st Sustainment Brigade, paid his respects to the members of Task Force Lifeliners that fell in combat during the deployment.
“We’ll never forget their ultimate sacrifice,” said Hamilton. “We honor them each day.”
He then described some of the brigade’s many achievements, which included performing nearly 400 convoy escort team missions, driving more than 70,000 miles over the most dangerous roads in the world, while also conducting postal, finance, maintenance and air delivery operations.
“As I left Fort Campbell, and we prepared the team very well before we got here, I never would have imagined we would have been on the road that much and driven that many miles,” said Hamilton. “The soldiers standing before you today sir are battle hardened soldiers. They’re tough and very courageous.”
He also stated that the brigade managed the largest supply and support activity in the U.S. Army. During the deployment, he said the brigade managed a “historic” flow of supplies in and out of theater.
The returning troops arrived to a hero’s welcome. Families and friends filled Hangar 3 at Campbell Army Airfield. They made an assortment of signs, banners and shirts welcoming their soldiers home. Their cheers filled the air when the Lifeliners started off the plane.
Many of the family members made long trips to welcome their Soldier home.
“So I started in Fairfax, Va., right outside of Washington D.C.,” said Mary Monsen, wife of 1st Lt. Stephen Monsen, 101st Sustainment Brigade operations officer. “Then we had 14 inches of snow on Thursday. Then on Saturday, it was flurrying this morning and all the plane flights were delayed and so my flight was also delayed 45 minutes. So I’m sitting here counting down the time, but luckily it just kept getting pushed back and back and back. I was really excited to be here to welcome everybody back, especially my husband.”
Troops and families both rushed to embrace each other. Children, spouses, siblings, parents and many others eagerly reunited with their soldiers in the short time they had before the soldiers had to perform the final set of tasks related to their return.
Monsen said the reunion left her speechless.
“No words,” said Monsen. “It’s a feeling most people can’t describe.”