With reintegration training following a nine-month deployment to Iraq nearly complete, one battalion in 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division held its first, unit-wide event since its homecoming, Oct. 15.
More than 1,000 paratroopers and Family members of 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment participated in “Home Run,” a Family 5K run and walk held to promote camaraderie and togetherness.
“We felt it was just a good way to bring those paratroopers that deployed and join them back with those paratroopers that kept doing good things back here for us, and we invited the Family members,” said Lt. Col. J.C. White, commander of 2nd Bn., 505th PIR. “It’s a great way to close out our reintegration — we’re back together as a battalion and as one big Family.”
At the start of the race, paratroopers vying for the fastest times crowded to the front of the pack, while paratroopers with Family members and children waited close behind, also eager to begin the race.
Some paratroopers carried children on their shoulders while others pushed or pulled their children in strollers and wagons.
Canine Family members were also welcome at the event and joined their masters in the running, jogging or walking. Each participant received a participation medal at the conclusion of the 5K.
“It ended up being a lot of fun,” said Kendra Chappell, spouse of Capt. Adam Chappell. “I love being a part of (my husband’s) unit. We’re glad to have our guys home, so anything to celebrate that then I’m in.”
Capt. Lukasz J. Willenberg, chaplain for 2nd Bn., 505th PIR, said he organized the event to give the paratroopers and their Family members a chance to spend time together.
“They say that Families that spend time together stay together,” Willenberg said. “As a chaplain, my job is to provide every possible opportunity for the Families (and) for the paratroopers to … give them the time to simply strengthen relationships.”