19 soldiers return home for Christmas after 9 months abroad
HONOLULU (AP) — Nineteen U.S. Army soldiers were reunited with loved ones in Hawaii just in time for Christmas following a nine-month deployment in the Middle East.
Family and friends greeted the soldiers Monday night as they returned to Schofield Barracks on Oahu.
The soldiers from the 25th Infantry Division weren’t due back until Saturday, but Maj. Gen. Ronald P. Clark told staff to do all they can to get them home before Christmas, a division spokesman told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
Getting home included a military flight from Kuwait to Ireland and commercial flights crossing the Atlantic and then the Pacific.
“It took a team effort across the services to get them home,” Lt. Col. Curtis Kellogg said.
The soldiers had been serving with the Postal Platoon of the 259th Human Resources Company, supporting postal operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries.
“All the mail coming into Iraq came to us, and we pushed it out to the (Army post offices) either through trucks or air pallets through flight,” 1st Lt. Shenicquia Fulton told Hawaii News Now. “We started a new system that decreased the timeline from 14 days down to seven days.”
Fulton said she is proud of what her team has accomplished, but she’s happy to be home.
“Just seeing the smiles on their faces makes everything worth it,” Fulton said.