More National Guard Soldiers Return Home From War - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

More National Guard Soldiers Return Home From War

After a year of dangerous combat and hard work rebuilding war torn Iraq, another group of Mississippi's citizen soldiers are home from war. An estimated 240 members of the 155th Brigade Combat Team arrived in Gulfport early Thursday morning.

The handful of family members on hand to greet them included Sabrina Martin of Gautier and her newborn daughter Kirstin.

"She hadn't ever seen her daddy," says Sabrina. "She's three-months-old."

For new father Specialist Michael Martin, one word describes this first meeting.

"Unbelievable," says Martin.

Others anxiously await a quick bus ride north to Camp Shelby for similar reunions, and then home.

"I'm so glad to be here," says Sergeant Keith Wooten of Batesville. "Batesville, I hope ya'll are ready for what I'm going to bring ya'll."

Master Sergeant Larry Smith of Biloxi is glad to be home even though the hurricane left him homeless.

"Was getting ready to go to work for the Moss Point Police Department when we got mobilized," says Smith. "Now I'll look for a job and find a place to live. It's going to be interesting."

And Sergeant Angelo Riley of Carthage will never forget his days of combat, both the fascinating and frightening.

"It's a different culture," says Riley. "I've seen a lot of desert, sheep herders, camels."

Among the unforgettable images this group witnessed, free elections in Iraq. Something they say is reassuring to them that America's mission is being accomplished and they helped.

"Some people over there don't want them to vote," says Riley. "We had to stand guard and make sure that they had that opportunity to come to the polls to vote."

A mission their commander Major General Harold Cross says deserves recognition.

"So if you see one of them, cross the road and shake their hands," says Cross.

by Don Culpepper

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