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170 National Guard members return from Iraq

Approximately 170 members with the U.S. National Guard returned home to family and friends Wednesday after a 9-month tour of duty in Iraq.

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WAKE COUNTY, N.C. — Approximately 170 members of the U.S. National Guard returned home to family and friends Wednesday after a 9-month tour of duty in Iraq and three months of training before being deployed.

It was the second deployment for the National Guard Apache unit based in Morrisville. In 2003, they were deployed to Afghanistan.

"I'm excited to be home. I missed home so much," said Spc. Fernando Ambriz, who was deployed shortly after he married his wife. "I never realized how great America is until I got over there. I love America, and I'm glad what I do for it."

Sgt. Robert Wellbrook also reunited with his family, including his 2-year-old daughter Kiersten, who cried when seeing her father.

"She a lot bigger," Wellbrook said. "I've missed half her life, and now I'm back to see her again."

Spc. Misty Burns and her husband were also deployed and forced to leave their 3-year-old daughter, Lilly, with her grandmother.

"It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do," Burns said. "But she was in very good hands."

Teresa Raspa was embraced by her family, as well. It was the 22-year-old's first deployment.

"It's overwhelming," she said. "I'm glad to be home, though."

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 Credits

Amanda Lamb, Reporter
Chad Flowers, Photographer
Kelly Gardner, Web Editor

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