More Than One Hundred Soldiers Return To East Texas From Iraq - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

5/13/08 - Palestine

More Than One Hundred Soldiers Return To East Texas From Iraq

They've risked their lives fighting overseas in Iraq for nearly a year, but now, it's over and Tuesday was a day for 'thank yous'. Not one, not a dozen, but more than one hundred soldiers from Delta Company of the 144th Infantry Division got a huge "Welcome Home." KLTV 7's Tracy Watler was at the National Guard Armory in Palestine where friends and family gathered.

Complete with Palestine High School's marching band, kids waving American flags and families holding up signs, it was a day to salute our soldiers.

Among a sea of friends, families, and East Texans, members of the National Guard got a Texas-sized welcome and a medal for their thanks.

"It was a lot of fun seeing Palestine, and actually seeing green grass and trees again compared to dessert all over the place, we're all pretty happy that's all I can say," says Lieutenant Jon Karas.

Every soldier had their own story of relief to finally be home.  One couple married five years has been apart for three of them.  

"It's hard, it's hard on people, it's hard on the family and it's just pretty difficult sometimes," says Sergeant Sergio Dominguez.

"I'm very excited that they're finally home. That's it, he's all mine," says his wife laughing.

And one grandmother we spoke to was there to support her grandson--a soldier who lost his mother just a year before deployment.

"It's just something that gets to you," Virginia Stewart says, tearing up. "I don't know you're so grateful for each one of them and I just wish they all could be home."

And another sergeant who played soccer with young Iraqi children says all the while he thought his own.

"Glad to be back.  I've got two young girls and a wife, that are on their way to pick me up, so it's exciting waiting for that to happen. It's been a long haul, you know, the whole year being gone from family and friends," says Sergeant Michael Carrigan.

They are the men and women and mothers and wives who make up our military and now, they're back on East Texas soil.

One more note, we're told the company did not suffer any deaths overseas, and all of their soldiers made it home.

Tracy Watler, Reporting tracy@kltv.com

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