Communities to Celebrate Return of Soldiers

Communities to Celebrate Return of Soldiers

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Sammy Linebaugh reportingThe communities of Logan and Brigham City have much to celebrate this morning, as more than 100 soldiers have returned this week from fighting in Iraq.

They are members of the National Guard 148th Field Artillery.

The celebrating really started last Monday, when the first group of soldiers from the Utah National Guard 148th Field Artilllery, first batallion, returned from duty. That was followed by a second wave on Tuesday, and a third wave on Friday.

About 80 soldiers in that third wave were greeted by their families. It had been a year, in some cases, since these soldiers had been reunited with their loved ones. They were mobilized in June 2004 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The 1-148th was assigned to Northern Iraq where they performed security patrols, helped construct schools ...and worked with children. And in some cases, says First Lt. Gary Bartholomew, the children helped them in matters of security.

Lt. Gary Bartholomew: "We talked to the mayor. He said there weren't any bad guys. We talked to the police chief. There aren't any bad guys. But this 12-year-old boy knew all this stuff. Ultimately that day we found 300 artillery rounds and homemade bombs and all this equipment and stuff."

The soldiers distributed toys to the children, toys sent by Utahns. Bartholomew and his wife Ami, back home in Stansbury Park, organized the toys for soldiers in Iraq to give to the children there. Bartholomew says the toys were a big hit and let the children know the soldiers were there to help.

Now home, soldiers from the 148th Artillery Unit will be officially welcomed home with celebrations today in Brigham City and Logan.

In Brigham City, the party starts at 8 am at the local armory, with a city parade to follow. In Logan, the parade gets underway at 10:15 am, starting at the local Macey's grocery store and ending on the Utah State campus, where there will be a celebration.

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