Local News

Soldier returns home to Durham after 15 months in Iraq

Posted November 26, 2008 7:03 p.m. EST
Updated November 26, 2008 10:50 p.m. EST

— Thanksgiving is a homecoming for many people. For a Durham family, it will be a homecoming that has extra meaning.

Phillip Barbee, 20, has been stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky., since coming back from serving 15 months in Iraq. Wednesday evening, he was reunited with his family again in Durham.

"It has been a long time, about 15-months. So it is good to be back, to see some friendly faces," Phillip Barbee said.

“It was so amazing to hear him so happy,” girlfriend Meghan Lell said. "He has a really great laugh. I haven't heard his laugh in so long."

The soldier wasn't supposed to make it back to Durham until December.

"Man, you couldn't explain how excited I am,” father Darrell Barbee said.

"With Phillip coming home, we are very thankful. So this is going to be a very special Thanksgiving,” Darrell Barbee said.

In anticipation of Phillip Barbee's arrival, the family's home looked more like the Fourth of July than the day before Thanksgiving.

That is "because there's a lot of family and relatives that live around here and knew he was there and I told them. I said, 'You'll know when he's coming' and so they know when he is coming,” mother Beth Barbee said.

The Barbees have another son, Allan. He is in the Air Force and is stationed in Japan. The family just found out that Allan is being sent to Afghanistan.