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1st BCT begins redeployment after 15 months in Iraq
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Soldiers of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division "torch party" stand at attention and sing the "Marne Song" during Wednesday night's homecoming for the unit at Fort Stewart's Cottrell Field. The 1st BCT deployed to Al Anbar, Iraq, in January 2007. - photo by Kevin Larson / U.S. Army photo
The first soldiers of the First Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, were welcomed home during a ceremony on Fort Stewart Wednesday night.
The 40-soldier "torch party" was greeted by 200 friends and family at its welcome home on Cottrell Field. A torch party is an initial group that redeploys before a unit's main body, establishing the transition between the rear detachment command and the forward deployed command.
Lt. Col. Brian Gale, 3rd ID rear detachment commander, praised the 1st BCT soldiers for their service in Iraq. "You were the first soldiers of the division to deploy in support of
 Operation Iraqi Freedom V," Gale said. "You were the first to put boots on the ground for 15 months. You did a great job in Al Anbar, turning what was once a violent province were multiple attacks took place daily into a more peaceful province. You truly have every right to be proud of what you have done for the people of Iraq and the United States."
Following Gale's welcome and singing the national anthem, the "Marne Song" and the "Army Song," the relatives and friends rushed from the parade field's reviewing stands to greet their soldiers.
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