Local Troop Temporarily Returns Home - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

10/03/03

Local Troop Temporarily Returns Home

This picture is only one of the many historic memories Chris Bagwell shares with his family.

He arrived home a day earlier than his mom expected, but the biggest surprise was on him - it was his first introduction to his four-month-old daughter Jillian Nicole.

"Oh, she's great. That was a big surprise because when I left she wasn't here, and when I came back, now I have a child at the house. I think that's great," said Bagwell.

Chris has seen a lot of "unexpected" things in the last few months.

He's a member of the 101st Airborne Unit - the same unit that was attacked by one of their own members back in March, killing one soldier and wounding 15 others.

"Things were so hectic when that happened, it really didn't faze us. Well, we couldn't believe one of our own would actually do something like that, but it didn't really hurt morale because we knew we were fixing to invade the country of Iraq, so we were all pretty stoked about that. It was a setback, and we hate that it happened, but we kept our eyes on the mission at hand and we completed it," said Bagwell.

Unfortunately, Chris's mission has included injuries, which has gained him the distinguished Purple Heart.

"I was in a place called Al-Amadias. It's in the southern part of Baghdad. We landed there and we had to clear out for a tank division to come through and it was getting towards the end of the day. It had been a long day. It had been stressful, got into a couple skirmishes and then , sitting there getting ready to go, I was tired and I heard some gun shots ring out, saw a couple of my friends get hit, and I just remember seeing a white cloud in front of me and I couldn't figure out what it was," said Bagwell.

Chris caught pieces of shrapnel in his head, arms, and his legs.

But even that hasn't taken away from his duty to his country.

"I couldn't be more proud of him. He has always been one of those kids that looked after somebody else, you know. I think he found his niche in life, and I'm just so proud of him," said Chris's mother Midge Bagwell.

Chris is part of the second brigade, third battalion of the 502nd infantry regiment.

By Karla Redditte

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