After two months overseas serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom, more than 200 soldiers from the 1st Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment are back home. Although their plane touched down just before 1am this morning, there was a big crowd of family and friends on hand to welcome them home.
These are the soldiers responsible for the daring rescue of POW Jessica Lynch. They not only told us how proud they are of one another and all they accomplished in Iraq, but also how thankful they are that there were no lives lost during their rescue mission.
"It feels really good to go over there," said Ranger SSgt. Pugh. "And like the POW, Jessica Lynch, the rescue of her and bringing those other POW's home to their families where they belong...it feels really good."
It was an operation that took place where these men literally had no time to spare.
"We conducted the operation about from when I first heard about it to when we executed it...it was probably about three days," said Lt. Col. Mike Kershaw.
"It's the first time in like 50 years or something like a successful POW rescue mission had been done," said SSgt. Louis Sisneros. "The fact that we did it with no casualties and nothing like that was a really good feeling, and to bring back the 11 other bodies and have them ID'd was a really good feeling too."
The homecoming won't be a happy one for the families who lost loved ones, but at least, they can move on. Lt. Col. Kershaw told us it had been the troops' duty to recover the bodies. Without the tools to accomplish that mission, they retrieved the bodies by digging with their bare hands.
"The fact that we could bring them home and give some sort of closure to them means a lot," said SSgt. Sisneros.
Thanks to these Army Rangers, Private First Class Jessica Lynch was able to celebrate her 20th birthday at home with her family.