Soldiers welcomed home after year-long deployment

Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 6:05 AM EDT
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FORT DRUM, New York (WWNY) - For the first time in 365 days, soldiers with the 548th Division Sustainment Support Battalion reunited with their loved ones overnight.

For some soldiers, being away from loved ones for a year can feel like a lifetime. For three-month-old Berkley Warburton, it almost has been.

“Now she’s a year old and a little human of her own,” her mother, Cassidy Warburton, said. “So it’ll be quite different.”

She was just three months old when her father, Sgt. James Warburton, a soldier with the 548th Division Sustainment Support Battalion’s Alpha Company, went off to Kuwait in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

It was a 36-hour trip from Kuwait to the post.

Their job? Give support to other units.

As 1st Lt. John Giannone would say, “bullets don’t fly without supply.”

“For the water platoon, their whole mission the whole time we were out there, and during their time out there, they were able to purify over one million gallons of water. Fuel, they were refueling thousands of gallons a week to aircraft, vehicles. Then we had our maintenance. All of the vehicles which are needed for the fuel and water missions, they were making sure they were ready to go,” he said.

Even from 6,000 miles away, 1st Lt. John Giannone says he was often reminded of home.

“While we were out there, another brigade actually came out there as well, so it was nice to see some 10th Mountain camaraderie,” he said. “10th Mountain has a lot of history, so even other soldiers that were there that were previously in 10th Mountain, everybody was looking to help out over there.”

Berkley, Cassidy, and families like theirs sat in the bleachers of the Magrath Sports Complex early Friday morning, signs in hand, waiting for their loved ones to march on in.

“I’m just kind of hoping he cries maybe. He might not, but if he does, that would be kind of cool,” Cassidy said.

After 365 days, and 36 hours of travel, for Sgt. Warburton it was worth the wait.

“It’s amazing. I’m at a loss for words, honestly. You know you see pictures and everything throughout the deployment, throughout the rotation. But it feels unreal,” he said.

And though no tears were shed right away...

“I probably will later when I’m not with everybody. Not in front of my troops,” said Sgt. Warburton.

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