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Samantha Hayes Reporting Utah's 148th Field Artillary unit is starting to return from Iraq after 16 months of war. It was a long awaited reunion for these soldiers and their families.
Twelve National Guardsmen from the 148th field artillery unit flew in this afternoon. While in Iraq, they faced dangerous situations. Many survived road side bomb attacks. Coming home was like stepping into another life they used to know.
If you think about how much happens in a year and a half, there would be many stories to tell. That's how these soldiers and their families feel.
There have been a lot of phone calls, especially between this soldier and his girlfriend.
Chris Whitney, 148th Field Artillary: "Couldn't wait to see this girl."
Lauri Mackintosh, Girlfriend: "I've waited a long time for this."
There were letters, too.
Wanda McFall, Mother: "It's been up and down a lot. Mostly he has shared positive things."
And even after all that time away, the soldiers themselves are positive about what they accomplished in Iraq.
Andrew Breece: "Schools are being built, freedoms people never had. You could look at maps of Iraq. Dozens of villages were destroyed under the former regime."
They're also positive about what they have to return to in America.
Timothy McFall, 148th Field Artillary: "When we were flying into Washington and the clouds parted, we could see American land. We saw homes, streets, the ocean. A cheer went up in the plane. It was good."
"Like a big weight is lifted. We're finally home. Now comes the hard part-- getting on with your life."
Many soldies in the National Guard put off school, work, marriage while they served the country. Sixteen months is a long time. They're just glad to be home for the holidays this year.