Schofield Barracks soldiers honored after year-long deployment to Afghanistan

Published On: May 11 2012 03:19:09 PM HST   Updated On: May 12 2012 01:01:41 PM HST

A ceremony at Schofield Barracks Friday honored thousands of soldiers finally home from a year-long deployment to Afghanistan.

The 4,000 soldiers of the 25th Infantry Division 3rd Brigade Combat Team have spend the last year conducting counterinsurgency operations in Eastern Afghanistan.

They also helped to train a fledgling Afghan national army.

The deployment did not come without tragedy.

20 soldiers were killed during this mission.  On Friday, the families of the fallen soldiers were recognized for their loss.

Despite recent reports of surprise attacks on U.S. forces by Afghan insurgents, Col. Richard Kim said his brigade has built a lasting bond of trust between the U.S. and Afghan armies.

"They're as tight as you can be," said Col. Kim.  "They trusted each other with their lives and they fought and bled together."

Schofield Barracks officials said there is more work to be done in Afghanistan, but the soldiers returned home satisfied with what they accomplished.

"Working with the Afghans, by and large the vast majority want nothing but peace and stability for their country," said Lt. Col. Craig Wagoner.

During the year Bronco Brigade was deployed, 87 soldiers received Purple Hearts, 23 were awarded the Bronze Star Medal with valor, 46 soldiers received the Army Commendation Medal with valor and four soldiers were awarded Silver Star medals for their heroics in combat.


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