Not all Soldiers come home from a deployment to a full house and a stocked pantry.
Some come home to a barracks room devoid of necessities.
The Family members of 1st Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division spent the afternoon of Aug. 24 ensuring Gray Falcons coming home to barracks rooms would come home to snacks, cleaning supplies and toiletries.
“I think it was just something we wanted to do to show our support for the Soldiers that didn’t have necessarily Families to come back to.
“This is primarily for the Soldiers we have living in the barracks. They are coming home to an empty room. We want to give them something to come home to,” explained Capt. Patrick Harvey, 1st Sqdn., 73rd Cav. Regt., 2nd BCT, 82nd Abn. Bde.
Fort Bragg USO and Packs for Patriots donated supplies for approximately 200 welcome home baskets for barracks-bound Soldiers returning from a nine-month deployment.
“Right now, we’ve got about two-thirds of the squadron forward deployed, mostly in Iraq in Support of Operation Inherent Resolve,” said Harvey.
Some of the first Soldiers left in December; most of them left in January, explained Harvey.
Retired Sgt. Maj. Ronald Regan, honorary regimental sergeant major of the 73rd Cav. Regt., was in attendance to stay involved.
“When they deployed I was here to see them off, and when they come in, I plan on being there ... you can never get rid of the military in you once you’ve been in for 30 years,” said Regan. “A lot of times the single Soldiers get left out … this shows they’re appreciated, that they’re thought of too, which I think is awesome.”
Suzette DuBay, whose son is deployed with 1st Sqdn., was visiting from California and attended the welcome home basket party with her daughter in-law Kaley DuBay.
DuBay said it meant a lot to to be able to contribute in some small way,w which can be difficult to do all the way from California.
Staff Sgt. Richard Johnson, 1st Sqdn., 73rd Cav. Regt., 2nd BCT, 82nd Abn. Bde, fired up the grill as Family members, including his wife Kristina Johnson and their two children ages seven months and two years, began to pack up bags of goodies for Soldiers who would soon be headed home.
Kristina explained that the day’s events were all about valuing every member of the team.
“I think it’s all about appreciation. They will just know that everyone came out and did this for them.
That we think of them when they are here and when they are not,” explained Kristina.