Small group of 1-265th Soldiers return to Daytona after year-long deployment in Afghanistan

Written by  //  October 26, 2011  //  Feature Stories

By Capt. Theresa R. DiPinto
164th Air Defense Artillery

ORLANDO, Fla. (Oct. 26, 2011) –The 1st Battalion, 265th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, welcomed nearly 40 Soldiers home from Afghanistan at the Daytona Beach Armed Forces Reserve Center on Sunday, Oct. 23, during a brief ceremony attended by family and friends, as well as local veterans and dignitaries.

Staff Sgt. Larry McDonald of 1-265th Air Defense Artillery RAID Detachment is greeted by his “daddy doll”-carrying daughters after returning home from a year in Afghanistan. Photo by Capt. Theresa DiPinto

Maj. Gen. Emmett Titshaw, the Adjutant General of Florida, as well as Maj. Gen. James Tyre, the Assistant Adjutant General – Army, was on hand to give thanks for the Soldiers’ service as a Rapid Aerostat Initial Deployment (RAID) detachment for the last twelve months.

Several local Veterans organizations were also in attendance at the welcome home ceremony. These included the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), the National Order of Trench Rats (NATR), the American Legion and also the Vietnam Veterans Council. 

Capt. James Singleterry of Ormond Beach, and 1st Sgt. Wesley Erb of Ponte Vedra, led the detachment – along with additional Soldiers and civilians attached to them – in providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information to combat Soldiers in the area. 

While serving under Operation Enduring Freedom, the Soldiers worked under a special troops battalion that was attached to Task Force Maverick.  The Task Force awarded each Soldier a “Gold Spur” – which is rarely given to non-Cavalry National Guard units – to recognize their exceptional performance while deployed.  The best rewards, however, came at the conclusion of their welcome home ceremony in Daytona. 

Sporting “daddy dolls” and the widest of smiles, family members rushed to receive long-awaited hugs and kisses once the Soldiers were released from formation to head home. Soldiers embraced one another to bid farewell and thanks to those they called brothers and sisters during a long, but meaningful year.  While in Afghanistan, the Soldiers not only provided situational awareness, but saw their fair share of combat.  Indeed the detachment earned four bronze stars; seven combat action badges; and a slew of other service, commendation, and achievement medals.