Balloons spelled out “Welcome Home” for Sgt. 1st Class Adam Lashley during a lunch held in his honor Sept. 1, a small reminder from the U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern staff that he was missed during his recent six-month tour in Baghdad, Iraq.
There were not hundreds of families racing across a parade field to embrace their returning Soldiers. No bands played or speeches made. Sometimes homecomings are smaller, more intimate.
Yet, Sergeant Lashley’s return was no less significant for those who missed him — most of all, his wife Valerie and sons Elijah and Jonah.
Soldiers, civilians and family members gathered at the garrison headquarters to welcome Lashley home and to recognize his wife Valerie’s commitment to the family readiness group.
Chili and rice was on the menu, plus a cake Sergeant Lashley cut before offering his sentiments.
Soldiers mowed his lawn. The chaplain’s office sent packages and offered prayers. Overall, his unit made sure his family was cared for while he was serving in Iraq, Sergeant Lashley said.
“You wonder about your connection with your unit when you are away. This shows cohesiveness and I’m proud to be a part of this unit,” Sergeant Lashley said. “This is like coming home to family.”
Sergeant Lashley, 31, of Arcadia Valley, Mo., was serving as the enlisted leader for USAG-K headquarters detachment in February, when he deployed for six months to Iraq. In Baghdad, the military police noncommissioned officer oversaw base defense and force protection at Forward Operating Base Union III, in the international zone.
“Whether it’s a whole unit returning or simply one dedicated noncommissioned officer like Sergeant Lashley, it is important for our command to recognize the commitment of our Soldiers and their families,” said Lt. Col. Kevin Hutchison, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern.
Sergeant Lashley’s wife, Valerie, was deeply involved with the unit’s family readiness group while her husband was deployed, Sylvia Jessup told the gathered crowd.
“She never skipped a beat,” Mrs. Jessup said. “She is a key player in our FRG.”
Mrs. Jessup, whose husband is U.S. Army Garrison’s senior enlisted leader, Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Jessup, said the headquarters FRG routinely holds events, such as fundraisers and family events.
“We do everything we can to keep families together when their Soldier is away,” Mrs. Jessup said.