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Fort Bragg commander among those coming home

Posted December 22, 2011
Updated December 23, 2011

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— For the commanding general of Fort Bragg and 300 other soldiers, Thursday marked the end of the war in Iraq. Soldiers from the Army's 18th Airborne Corps and the 82nd Airborne Division arrived home to friends and family just in time for Christmas.

Those reunions are joyful any time of year, but they take on a special meaning during the holiday season. The soldiers' arrival was marked by banners, cameras, hugs and smiles when they landed at Pope Air Field.

"It's an awesome feeling, an aweseome opportunity," said Sgt. Earl Rice of the chance to hug his wife and son, Earl Jr. Rice was deployed for a year.

The day's news out of Iraq – of explosions in Baghdad and civilians killed – could not dampen the joy for these families.

 18th Airborne, 82nd Airbone homecoming Fort Bragg commander back on U.S. soil

Lt. General Frank Helmick, who oversaw the day-to-day job of getting the troop withdrawal done, said Americans should keep perspective about their role in the country.

The soldiers under his command are proud of what they have done, he said, but nothing feels as good as being home in time for Christmas.

The wife of Col. David Jernigan, a veteran of seven deployments, said their family would spend the holiday quietly, together, with lots of "snuggle time."

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  • JenA Dec 23, 2011

    Thank you for your sacrifices! Welcome home! Merry Christmas!

  • davidgnews Dec 23, 2011

    "Lt. General Frank Helmick, who oversaw the day-to-day job of getting the troop withdrawal done, said Americans should keep perspective about their role in the country."

    Funny how they aren't saying anything about the 5000 or so mercs still there providing security for the workforce that also isn't mentioned. We'll be paying a lot of hidden dollars for a private army for a long time, which they also don't mention.

    At least we're getting our soldiers out of it.

  • u stand corrected Dec 23, 2011

    Welcome home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!