Estimated read time: 1-2 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
John Hollenhorst Reporting It's a holiday homecoming for Utah troops who have spent nearly a year in Iraq. There were tears and smiles, sometimes on the same face at the same time, as 21 Utah National Guard troops made it home safe and secure for Christmas.
Most of the 21 soldiers missed Christmas at home last year. They shipped out for Iraq on December 26th; now they're back home to celebrate this Christmas with loved ones.
It's a scene that has been repeated dozens of times over the past three years. Close to five thousand Utah national guard troops have gone overseas and come home safely. The worry is never over for loved ones until they can put their arms around the one they've been waiting for.
Darlene Bellow, Mother of Guardsmen: “I’m in tears, I’m so excited, I’m so happy. He’s here, he’s here, he’s here!”
These members of the 300th military intelligence brigade have had a tricky duty, interrogating Iraqi civilians to learn more about the deadly insurgency. Many feel the job isn't over and needs to continue.
Capt. Craig Bellow, Utah National Guard: “We still need to be there. If we pull out too early we’ll have to go back and clean up another mess. So I think it’s important we’re there for the stability of Iraq, for their people so they can form their own government, have their own security forces.”
In the next few days these 21 soldiers will be deactivated. That means they’ll return to civilian live. At this point there’s no reason to believe that this group will have to return to Iraq.