Fort Stewart Soldiers Return - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

01/13/04

Fort Stewart Soldiers Return

Most of the thousands of men and women from our area who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom have been back home for months now. But not all. Today, more than 100 Fort Stewart soldiers with the 396th Transportation Company came back to Hinesville.

Military spouse Corynne Thorpe waited in Fort Stewart's Newman Gym to welcome her husband home. Gone for 11 months, he's is one of the last Fort Stewart units to return from Iraq. "It's very frustrating for people to say everybody's home, because they're not," she told us before he arrived.

Loved ones of the 396th Transportation Company have waited for weeks. But today was the day to reunite with their soldiers. The excitement built and built until it exploded when soldiers filed into the gym. Families hunted through 115 faces to find theirs.

Corynne used her camera to find husband Corey. Then the mad dash to find husbands and fathers, wives and mothers.

For some, the welcome was overwhelming. "They pinned me to the ground, piled on me, six, seven of them.  I couldn't count," Spec. Wilfred Laboy told us. "The Iraqis didn't do nothing. My family nearly killed me."

But all are glad to be back home. "All you can do is thank God he carried you through those months," said SSgt. Betty Pettis.

While they don't know if they'll be called back to Iraq any time soon, they'll enjoy whatever time they have home. The Third Infantry sent more than 20,000 soldiers to Kuwait and Iraq. A little over 300 are still there. We'll keep you posted on their return.

Reported by: Dal Cannady, dcannady@wtoc.com

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