Fort Drum Soldiers Return Home From AfghanistanPosted: Updated:
Just in time for the holidays, 24 Fort Drum soldiers have returned home from Afghanistan.
Soldiers from the 510th Human Resources Company, 10th Headquarters Special Troops Battalion, 10th Sustainment Brigade were welcomed home early Wednesday morning.
The 510th deployed in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel where they were tasked with providing postal support to U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan for the past nine months.
Throughout our nation's history soldiers have relied on mail to communicate with loved ones and boost morale while at war.
Based on the expected mission requirements and importance of their roles, the 510th's Soldiers completed a rigorous postal certification exercise in their pre-deployment build up. As a result, the unit was able to accomplish its mission and carry on the tradition of connecting deployed Soldiers with their families and friends back home.
"The unit set the standard by operating the largest Army post office in Central Command (Centcom), which supported over 50,000 personnel and processed over 12 million pounds of mail and care packages in and out of Afghanistan," said Lt. Col. Ronald Stewart Jr, 10th Headquarters Special Troops Battalion commander, as he addressed the returning soldiers. "Thanks for being true professionals and my hat goes off to you."
In theater, the 510th oversaw the operation of eight Army Post Offices or APOs spread out across seven Forward Operating Bases and conducted over 90 mail delivery missions to austere, hostile locations, ensuring that even those on the farthest edges of the battlefield were supported.
In addition to their team of 24 Soldiers, the 510th worked directly with 70 civilian contractors as well as commercial shipping companies to accomplish this critical mission.
The deployment, while successful, was not without its challenges.
"The most challenging aspect of the deployment was inspecting hundreds of unit mailrooms across Afghanistan," said 1st Lt. William D. Scott III, a platoon leader in the 510th, in a news release. "This required a large amount of battlefield circulation and patience in ensuring units understood the proper handling of their unit's mail."
Despite the challenges, the 510th's greatest accomplishments may be highlighted by what they left behind.
"We established an APO on an austere FOB that had significant population growth," said Scott. "We also improved the infrastructure of several APOs to allow for more secure storage and work space for mail."