Jed Boal ReportingIt's a long haul for Utah troops on duty in Iraq. The deployment can seem endless at times, but some soldiers get a short break in the action to renew their energy.
If you think you're keyed up for vacation this summer, imagine the excitement of Utah soldiers and their families when they get leave to spend a couple of weeks back at home.
More than four months ago members of the 116th Engineer Company loaded up and flew off to Iraq. Since then the engineers have worked on reconstruction in and around Baghdad. But for two weeks soldiers on leave can forget about the mission, the 120-degree heat and the dangers of war.
In small groups soldiers will get a break they crave. The soldiers say most members of the unit don't dwell on danger, they focus on the job.
Spc. Lonnie Petersen, 116th Engineer Company: “We do have some mortar attacks occasionally, but you feel safe. There's security out there. They do their job, they do it well."
Spc. Julius Day, 116th Engineer Company: “What we can do for them, what we're doing for them, it's helping."
Their mission is a long way from being finished, but so far it's given the soldiers greater appreciation for what they have at home.
Another unit of citizen soldiers is due home in the next few days and they'll be home for good. Members of the 419th Transportation Unit are already back in the US at Fort Lewis, Washington and should return home in the next few days.