Six weeks after the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Benning returned from a deployment to Kuwait, Col. Johnnie Johnson Jr. stood with 600 “Sledgehammer” soldiers Wednesday to thank local and national organizations for outstanding support while the troops were gone.
“This is just something that comes from the heart,” the brigade commander said after presenting certificates of appreciation to 14 organizations. “We are part of a community. It’s not just Army, training and business. It is also about family and community.”
The gathering at the brigade headquarters building on Kelley Hill was a chance for the brigade to thank organizations for their support while almost 2,000 soldiers were deployed to Kuwait. The brigade is slowly returning to normal after soldiers return from block leave after arriving home last month.
By the end of the summer, Johnson said a third to possibly half of the brigade could get assignments to new duty. “Some are on orders now,” Johnson said. “By the end of the summer, I would say at least a third of the brigade will turn over.”
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During the brigade’s nine-month deployment, organizations stepped in to provide everything from care packages to deployed soldiers to throwing a baby shower for an expectant mother at home.
“Everyone is always trying to find a way to help you, assist you and to make the lives soldiers and families better,” Johnson said. “That is what it’s all about. We appreciate the support. It’s phenomenal.”