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Whit Johnson Reporting About 40 soldiers with the Utah National Guard are back home after nearly a year in Iraq. The 141st Military Intelligence Battalion arrived at the Utah Air National Guard base just after noon today.
The soldiers were welcomed by hundreds of people. Sons, daughters, wives, mothers; all had been waiting a long time for the soldiers to return. And when they did, they all had one common message: "It's good to be home."
For many, the short wait at the Utah Air National Guard base was almost too much to bear.
Joyce Seely's son is one of the soldiers returning today. "I'm just so excited I can hardly stand it," she said.
Beneath the sea of red, white and blue there was a strong feeling of anticipation.
The 141st Military Intelligence Battalion served a 13-month deployment. They were in Baghdad for nearly a year. "I hope I can keep my composure," Kathryn Nickolls laughed. Her boyfriend is one of the soldiers.
Then, as the crowd sang the national anthem, came the moment everybody was waiting for. The soldiers were home, about 40 total, 35 from Utah. "You know, you see the flags and everybody here has been apart, and everybody has been waiting for their soldiers to get home, and it's finally here. They're finally home," Nancy Edwards said. Her husband came home today.
In Iraq the 141st was assigned to interrogate high-profile prisoners-of-war. "All the insurgent detainees that were captured on the battlefield would be brought to us," Lt. Col. Greg Hadfield explained.
Hadfield says they passed along intelligence that was instrumental in saving lives. "We were a one-of-a-kind facility. We did one-of-a-kind operations there," he said.
Now these soldiers have another mission. "We're going to go do the mandatory trip to Disneyland and spend some time together," Maj. Alex Faletti said.
Sgt. Steve Edwards and his family also have plans. "The kids are excited because we're going to Legoland in a couple of weeks. We're going to Southern California," he said.
The 141st suffered no fatalities or serious injuries. National Guard officials say they have four to five years before they have to start thinking about another deployment.