Wiregrass: Troops return home after 15 months in Iraq

Posted by: Melissa Johnson - bio | email

Fort Rucker, AL (WSFA) - A happy homecoming Thursday night for nearly 180 Alabama soldiers and their families.

Members of the B Company 46th Engineer Battalion returned after 15 months in Iraq.

Even though 16 month old Braden Bones isn't likely to remember this day, his father probably won't forget it.

His dad came home from his last deployment the day after he was born, only to leave two weeks later.  His mother, Constance, says her husband hasn't seen Braden since he was a newborn, and now, he's crawling.

For her, this day has been full of all emotions. She says she is nervous, scared, and excited all at the same time.

Across the aisle, Glenda Odom knows exactly what she wants to do when she sees her daughter.

She says, she'll just grab her and hold on to her.  She says, even though her daughter is a mother herself, she's still her baby.

With nervous excitement, she awaits her daughter's arrival, to join the other families in offering a hero's welcome.

Operations Officer Jason Billington says, "They've been on a long tour, and they're ready to come back home.  They've been 15 months in Iraq, so we're excited to welcome them back."

And as the soldiers finally arrive, they are at a loss for words as the reunite with their families.

Many can only say, they are so excited to see their wives and children.  Others, can't wait to partake in the comforts of home.

Some explain, "I'm gonna take a shower!"  Some, looking forward to a good warm meal, and some time to relax.

A well deserved rest, and an end to their brave journey, for now.

While overseas, those soldiers provided security and worked on reconstruction projects with Iraqi forces.