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Troops In Iraq Who Spent Time With WRAL Return Home

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FORT BRAGG, N.C. — When the war in Iraq started, WRAL's Ken Smith went to the frontlines to discuss the latest developments as they happened. He spent time with members of the 37th Engineer Battalion, who returned to the United States on Friday.

On Friday, the men and women of the 37th Engineer Battalion marched into the warm embrace of family and friends.

"It's just great coming home and seeing her. She doesn't know me yet, but she will learn," Sgt. Michael Beakes said.

"You appreciate what you got back home when you see what's over there," said Kenny Martinez, of the 37th Engineer Battalion.

Back in April 2003, WRAL linked up with the 37th Engineer Battalion and made the 900-mile journey to Mosul. The troops were charged with the duties of destroying Iraqi weapons. The soldiers also worked on an airstrip that was bombed during the war and repaired one of Saddam Hussein's palaces.

"We did our job. Now, we're all home and that's an immense feeling of accomplishment," said Capt. Thurman Bowen.

With their job in Iraq done, the troops have another duty, getting familiar with life on the homefront. Some members of the 37th Engineer Battalion are still in Iraq. They are expected home sometime this week.


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