National Guard troops return home after deployment
Posted January 10, 2010 9:53 p.m. EST
Updated January 10, 2010 11:07 p.m. EST
Durham, N.C. — The first of nearly 4,000 soldiers of the North Carolina Army National Guard's 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team returned home Sunday after a nine month deployment to Iraq.
This first group of soldiers met family members at National Guard armories in Charlotte, Fayetteville, Goldsboro and Durham.
Outside the Durham armory, Sgt. Ida Wangler was greeted by her Rockingham County family.
“It's hard for everybody. You're away from your family and it's like when you get over there, your life is put on hold,” Wangler said.
"It feels so good," Reba Wilson, Wangler's mother, said of having her daughter home.
The 30th started combat training for Iraq in December of last year and went on federal active duty in February, then deployed to Iraq in April.
"You never know when it's going to happen. It's just one of those things. It's a shock,” Pfc. Richard Simmons said of being in combat.
During their deployment the 30th conducted a wide range of missions from training Iraqi police and Army forces, to assisting in civil projects like schools and infrastructure improvements, and participating in joint combat operations with Iraqi Security Forces.
The 30th suffered 29 wounded and seven killed in action, five of those were N.C. National Guard soldiers.