Updated: July 27, 2014 at 9:45 am
The Army's Iron Horse has officially returned home.
Fort Carson's 4th Infantry Division signified its homecoming this month from a 12-month tour in Afghanistan with an uncasing ceremony, during which Maj. Gen. Paul LaCamera and Command Sgt. Maj. David Clark, the division command team, removed the cover from the unit's flag.
"I could quote the number of enemies killed in action, roads cleared and security forces trained, but I'm not," LaCamera said. "These numbers are not the score. The story is what the men and women of CJTF-4 and all friendly forces in Regional Command South did and achieved over the last year.
"They built on the hard work, bloodshed and fighting of the past decade."
The main goal of 4th Infantry Division troops in southern Afghanistan was to train Afghan forces. They also helped provide security during the country's recent elections.
The ceremony also signified the departure of Brig. Gens. James Rainey and J.T. Thomson III from Fort Carson.
"We could not have been as successful as we were without their leadership and their dogged determination to, not only the mission, but the people of Afghanistan," LaCamera said.
The two commanders thanked their families and fellow officers as well as the troops with whom they had just shared a year overseas.
"The gates of freedom remain open today because of your dedication and your professionalism," Thomson said in his final address to the unit. "You are what makes us Iron Horse strong."
Rainey challenged the unit's officers to remember that they serve the troops under them.
"At the end of the day, what really matter is what did you do to put a rifleman or a rifle squad in the position of advantage (over) the enemy," Rainey said. "And what did you do to take care of their families?"
Brig. Gen. Randy George will replace one of the outgoing generals; however, it has not been decided which position he will assume. Col. Mike Tarsa, former acting division commander, will fill the other position.
George likened his time waiting to hear if he would serve at Fort Carson to a time when he was a child and waited to hear if he would make the traveling baseball team.
"Thankfully the news I got this past spring, that I'd join the 4th Infantry Division, was better news then I got when I was 12," he said. "I look forward to playing our position and pouring my heart into ensuring our team is the best when it gets called out into the field.
"Given world events, I have no doubt that might happen," George concluded.
"Steadfast and loyal, strength and respect."