Returning Fort Wainwright soldiers share what they are looking forward to

Soldiers from the 1/25 Striker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division board buses bound...
Soldiers from the 1/25 Striker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division board buses bound for Fort Wainwright. (John Dougherty/KTVF) (KTVF)
Published: Jul. 7, 2020 at 4:51 PM AKDT
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Over the last couple of months hundreds of soldiers from the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division have returned to Alaska from the Middle East. The America they are coming back to is different from the one they left after the COVID-19 pandemic changed every aspect of life.

"This is a different time right now. We got a good sense of getting them to understand that America is a little bit different, but they are doing great," said CSM Phillip Blaisdell, the Senior Enlisted Leader for US Army Alaska.

Returning soldiers will be required to quarantine for two weeks before they are able to take their leave. However, they are still happy to be home. We were able to speak with some of the troops about what they are looking forward to most.

"Probably just relaxing honestly. It's been a long ten months of just working every day, you know, in the heat, just a crappy environment. I am just so happy to be back, we can spend time with our families, enjoy our time off," said SPC Aaron Vanbarner with the 1/25 SBCT "Arctic Wolves."

"Truthfully it feels great to be back, I am actually working on a supply excellence award for my company. We do have a few things lined up that we want to work on that we learned while we were deployed. So I am going to bring everything that I learned there and bring it here and work on it here,” Said PFC Terrence Stewart with the 1/25 SBCT "Arctic Wolves."

PFC Trevor Dunbar with the 1/25 SBCT “Arctic Wolves” said, "Well I am looking forward to some time off, some well deserved time off. Everybody in our battalion has been working very hard since [about] last September. So it's good for everybody to have a chance to unwind for a couple weeks and get some relaxation in and see our families and stuff like that."

US Army Alaska Leadership was glad they are back and appreciative of their service. Maj. Gen. Peter Andrysiak, the commanding general of U.S. Army Alaska said he would tell the soldiers, "Thanks and we are proud of them. Coming back off a nine-month deployment to Iraq, we are proud of everything they have done and the mission they have accomplished under some difficult circumstances. So for these soldiers it's thank you and we are proud of them."

Members of the University Police, Fairbanks Police Department, Alaska State Troopers and Airport police helped welcome the troops and escorted them across town to the post.

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