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Ceremony welcomed soldiers returning from Iraq

Posted September 15, 2009

— A welcome home ceremony was held Tuesday for 120 soldiers of the Army National Guard who recently returned from deployment in Iraq.

The ceremony for soldiers of the 449th Theater Aviation Brigade was at the unit's Morrisville headquarters. They deployed to Iraq in September 2008.

“To see that the state and everyone is so happy to see us back, it’s pretty amazing,” Capt. Latonya Smith said.

soldiers return Ceremony welcomes home soldiers

The ceremony included members of the North Carolina National Guard leadership, civic leaders and family and friends.

For some of the soldiers, coming home means a chance to meet the newest additions to their families. Deputy Brigade Commander Mike Fields missed the birth of his first child by two months.

“I couldn’t leave and get home in time for the birth, so I watched it on the Internet,” Fields said.

Fields said nothing compared to getting home and meeting his daughter, Palynn, for the first time.

“I didn’t have the true feeling of being a father, other than just seeing pictures and seeing it on the Internet. But when I got home, I could see her and touch her and feel her and that was the greatest thing,” Fields said.

Staff Sgt. Deana Abernathy returned but her husband is still serving overseas.

“Obviously, I’m excited about coming home. We have two small kids, so I miss them and I was very excited to come home and see them," Abernathy said. “At the same time, it was kind of sad coming home and knowing he’s not there.”

The soldiers returned to North Carolina nearly two weeks ago, but this was a chance for the public to thank them.

“We do it for the people who are here, so this is awesome,” Abernathy said.

The 449th brigade is trained to handle security, air assault and other service support missions.


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  • just my2cents Sep 15, 2009

    Welcome home heroes! I can not wait for my son to return to Morrisville next April! I'd love to be there for this ceremony. WHat time?

  • BucksandPackFan Sep 15, 2009


  • texasncgirl Sep 15, 2009

    Thank you for ALL that you do for our country! Wish I could be there! I recently met a couple at a benefit that are captains and have served 3 tours in Iraq..after hearing a more up close and personal story of a soldiers life there..my appreciation has deepened even more! WELCOME HOME!

  • kannr Sep 15, 2009

    jodsum - what a wonderful thing you'll be doing. People don't usually think that there are soldiers coming home that won't have family there to meet them for various reasons. ALL of our soldiers need our support and respect.

    God bless you all and welcome home!

  • happy Sep 15, 2009

    Welcome home Jim!

  • jodsum Sep 15, 2009

    What time does this celebration take place? I don't have anyone in this brigade, but have in the past. I would love to take my children to welcome someone home that doesn't have family to meet them.

  • ezrilouwho Sep 15, 2009

    I wish I could be there with my soldier in the 449th. Someone go out to the armory in morrisville and hug a solider who's family can't be in attendance due to last minute welcome home schedule changes.

  • EyesintheSkies Sep 15, 2009

    Welcome back and thanks for your service.

  • sayitoutloud Sep 15, 2009

    Welcome Home! Thank you for your service!

  • ecave Sep 15, 2009

    Welcome home heros. America thanks you!