Army Sgt. Matthew E. Hamel has returned to Fort Richardson, Anchorage, Alaska, after being deployed to Afghanistan for one year. The soldier is one of 3,500 members of the 4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division stationed at Fort Richardson. Airborne combat team members included soldiers assigned to one of six battalions and regiments of the 25th Infantry Division.

The airborne brigade served in three eastern provinces of Afghanistan. Some of the challenges the brigade soldiers faced included poverty, unemployment, security and management of natural resources and government institutions.

Soldiers improved roads, provided vocational training in construction and civics, improved and re-opened 29 schools, remodeled six medical clinics and improved three district courthouses.

Hamel, a cannon crewmember, is the son of Keith D. and Marylin J. Hamel of Bethel. His wife, Linnea, is the daughter of Jim Burns and Linda Burns, both of Rumford. The sergeant is a 2003 graduate of Telstar High School, Bethel.