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Engineering company returns to Fort Drum after deployment in Afghanistan

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FORT DRUM — About 90 soldiers from the 693rd Engineer Company, 7th Engineer Battalion were welcomed home at a ceremony Wednesday on post.

The company, part of the 10th Sustainment Brigade, had been in southern Afghanistan since October, performing route clearance work in the Maiwand district of Kandahar province.

Col. Carl A. Alex, the 10th Mountain Division’s deputy commander for support, said the company was responsible for clearing 20,000 miles of road, finding about 151 improvised explosive devices, and about two dozen large-scale missions to support forces in the area during its deployment.

“The tasks you accomplished ensuring our forces maintained freedom in maneuver and sustaining the fight saved lives,” Col. Alex said.

The Monti Physical Fitness Center ceremony was held a little bit sooner than the original plan for the soldiers to return Friday. With staffing not available at Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield on Friday due to furloughs, the return flight was moved up.

Julie M. McCann, wife of Sgt. Jeffrey B. McCann, said before the ceremony that she was excited to see her husband return home.

“When I got here, it was overwhelming joy,” she said. “Pure joy and happiness.”

She said that the recently finished deployment was her husband’s second, and that this one was “a little bit scarier” than the first.

Sitting with the couple’s three children, Amber, 20, Skylar, 12, and Sarah, 5, Mrs. McCann said it was important to instill normalcy during the deployment time. “As long as Momma’s OK, everything else is OK,” she said.

Following Col. Alex’s brief remarks, soldiers and family members rushed to reunite.

Among those coming together were Pfc. Vincent M. Grey, who was on his first deployment, and his wife, Jasmine E.

“It feels good ... . It’s good to be back,” Pfc. Grey said.

With Mrs. Grey holding their 3-year-old daughter, Autumn, Pfc. Grey’s aunt Leslie R. Grey brought over his 4-month-old daughter, Jálayah.

Pfc. Grey said he most looked forward to spending time with his family and his new daughter.

For video of the event, go to http://wdt.me/Q99E7g.







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