Utah National Guard Unit Returns From Iraq

Utah National Guard Unit Returns From Iraq

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Samantha Hayes reporting Tonight, 21 members of the Utah National Guard are home. Their part in Operation Iraqi Freedom is over.

The soldiers from the 141st Intelligence Battalion left for Iraq a year ago.

These soldiers, trained in intelligence, were right there alongside the troops...gathering information and sending it back. They have been instrumental in the search for weapons of mass destruction, and the capture of Saddam Hussein.

Soldiers from the 141st Intelligence Battalion have experienced a lot of different things in the last year, but they've all imagined this same moment: Walking toward their families..waiting at the end of the terminal.

Tara Litster: “Its hard to believe this day has finally come, because you think about it everyday when they are gone."

Sgt. Mike Pratt: “Don't even recognize my own kids they've grown up so much."

Barton Jeffs has been gone for nearly two and a half years, and is more than ready to enjoy family life with his five year old son and his wife.

Tracy Jeffs: Being able to hold his hand, see his face, just having him around me, being a couple again, not being a single mom. I'm tired of being a single mom. I'm glad to be together as a family, my son says dad is coming home so we can be a family again, he didn't think we were a family with him gone."

There will be lots of stories to tell. What it was like in Iraq before the war, during combat, and after the rebuilding and capture of Saddam Hussein.

Sgt. Mike Pratt: “It was most definitely worth it. We had to do it, if we didn't do it, then he had stuff he would have used against us."

Sgt. Mike Litster Hansen: “Heard their stories of torture..seen their scars of some of the people and I think they are thankful that we came to help them out from the oppression of Saddam."

1600 hundred people in the National Guard are mobilized...1,000 in Iraq, 500 in Afghanistan and 50 in Kuwait.

Several more groups are expected home in the next two months.

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