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Utah solider greeted in Iraq by step-father

Utah solider greeted in Iraq by step-father

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HUNTSVILLE, Utah (AP) -- Utah soldier Derek Telleson got a warm welcome when he arrived to start his tour of duty in Iraq -- his dad met him at the airport.

Col. Doug Telleson, 49, has been in the country since April on a six-month deployment. His 24-year-old son, a 2nd lieutenant, arrived in Baghdad on Saturday.

The elder Telleson told his boss his soldier-son would be arriving, said Betsy Telleson, who married Derek's father nine years ago. "His boss was really good and said if he had the time, to go ahead and spend the night there with him."

A photograph of the father-son reunion shows it was happy, Betsy Telleson said.

"You can tell from the look on their faces it was neat. Derek looks up to his dad so much," she said, adding that the pair made a surprise phone call home to Huntsville while together. "It's just so nice."

Retired after 20 years in the military, Betsy Telleson said for Derek Telleson to be greeted by a familiar face in Baghdad was great.

"The (soldiers) kind of bond together as they go from place to place, and they are there for each other," she said. "But to actually have a family member go out and greet them is just really nice."

Derek Telleson is expected to be in Iraq through next spring, although the family doesn't know where he'll be assigned. An original assignment had him stationed near his father.

Having a family member in a war zone is challenging, so having two there is tough, Betsy Telleson said. But she said she's trying not to complain much. Her family struggle is small compared to those who may have young children or a disability, she said.

"It's scary. You pray that everything is going to work out and everyone is going to come home," she said.


Information from: Standard-Examiner

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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