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TUESDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2015  02:06:28 PM

57th ESB welcomes home ‘Outlaws’

Email   Print   Share By Daniel Cernero, Sentinel Sports Editor
July 19, 2012 | News
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Soldiers in Co. B, 57th ESB return home after a deployment to Afghanistan, which began in August 2011, and are greeted by Family and friends Monday afternoon inside the West Fort Hood Physical Fitness Center. The company’s return was split into two flights -- one early Monday morning and one in the afternoon. Daniel Cernero, Sentinel Staff
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Spc. James Hudson IV receives hugs from his parents, Tammy Hudson and James Hudson III, after returning home Afghanistan. The Hudson Family’s attendance at the homecoming ceremony was a welcomed surprise to the specialist. Daniel Cernero, Sentinel Staff
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Spc. Anthony Cromwell is greeted by his grandmother and other Family members at the Co. B, 57th ESB welcome home ceremony Monday morning inside West Fort Hood Physical Fitness Center. Daniel Cernero, Sentinel Staff
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Capt. Victor Shepherd, the company commander of Co. B, 57th ESB, stands ready to release his Soldiers on the company’s first flight of the day Monday morning inside West Fort Hood Physical Fitness Center. Daniel Cernero, Sentinel Staff
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Families rush the court inside West Fort Hood Physical Fitness Center to greet their loved ones who were returning from a deployment in Afghanistan. In total, 88 Soldiers from Co. B, 57th ESB returned home. Daniel Cernero, Sentinel Staff
Returning to Fort Hood on Company B’s first flight in the wee hours of the morning Monday, one 57th Expeditionary Signal Battalion Soldier, Spc. James Hudson IV, didn’t know of the surprise guests eagerly awaiting his arrival.

As Hudson walked into West Fort Hood Physical Fitness Center, he couldn’t miss the of sight his parents smiling back at him.

“We just wanted to make sure he got home safe, and then let him know that we love him,” James’s mother Tammy said of welcoming her son home.

After hearing the company’s arrival time from the unit’s Family Readiness Group, James’ parents made the 25-hour drive from Tennessee.

“Who better to support him coming home than his mom and dad?” Tammy asked.

The 57th ESB company began its deployment to Afghanistan in August of 2011.

“They provided robust communication,” 1st Sgt. Carol Hymes, 57th ESB, said. “That was their ultimate function down there.”

As the unit continued to establish communication down range, improved communication with the home front – via increased technology, such as Facebook, Skype and similar programs – helped make the deployment a little easier.

James’s father, James Hudson III, recently retired from the Army, and he said there’s been a significant jump in how Soldiers are able to talk to their loved ones back home.

“Now, we have technology so that we can see face-to-face with our son and talk to him every week almost,” the elder Hudson said.

“When Jim was in Egypt, our phone bill was almost $600 a month, and we’d talk 30 minutes a week,” Tammy said.

Another Family benefiting from increased communication abilities is that of Spc. Anthony Cromwell. His mother, Janice Woods, hadn’t seen Anthony in person in two years before reuniting Monday.

“I was deployed when he left,” said Woods, who was serving a deployment with the National Guard on Active Guard and Reserve status. “Through email, Facebook – of course – and phone calls, we kept in touch a lot. It’s easy online.”

Growing up in a military Family, Woods said she noticed her son’s desire to join the military when he enrolled in JROTC in the ninth grade.

“It was right from high school,” she said. “And as soon as he was getting ready to graduate, he said, ‘Mom, I’m going in.’ It wasn’t a shock at that point.”

Helping Woods welcome Cromwell home was his father, three brothers, two sisters and his grandmother.

Later in the afternoon, the company’s second flight returned to the Great Place carrying more than 60 Soldiers.

In total, 88 Soldiers in Co. B, 57th ESB walked through the doors of West Fort Hood Physical Fitness Center and were greeted with a “mission complete” from Lt. Col. Darlene Sauer, the battalion commander.
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