Third ID Soldiers Return from Iraq - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

10/04/05

Third ID Soldiers Return from Iraq

More than a hundred soldiers from Fort Stewart are back at home tonight. Third Infantry Division soldiers with the 416th Transportation Company, otherwise known at the Road Dawgs, arrived in Savannah very early this morning. But that didn't stop dozens of family members and friends from coming to greet them.

After coming together to say goodbye to their loved ones last fall, family members gathered once again, this time watching for the moment they've waited for an entire year.

"I got my front row seats right here so I can just run straight out," laughed military spouse Lenorh Striverson. "I don't want anyone in my way."

Finally arriving home, soldiers were greeted by a cheering crowd, and finally got the chance to see the familiar faces they left behind so long ago.

"It's something I've been waiting on for a long time, a real long time," said Spc. Amelitha Dawson.

Feeling the warm embrace they've longed for, mothers finally held their daughters, fathers held their sons, and some parents were finally able to hold their children for the very first time.

"I feel really good, real good," said Spc. Everett Striverson. "I'm happy to be home."

And most of these soldiers already know exactly how they'll spend their first few hours back in the US. "Go home and get in my bed after taking a bubble bath for two hours," said Spc. Dawson. "I plan on getting in the bed and resting with no dirt falling in my face."

They no longer take anything for granted, and know they couldn't have made it through their long journey without the love and support of the people back home.

"People we never knew sent us boxes, sent us letters and sent us cards," said Capt. Wendy Merz. "And a lot of times they got there when soldiers really needed an uplift, and I'd like to say thank you for the continued support of the American people."

During its deployment, the 416th Transportation Company conducted more than 200 missions and supplied more than 7 million gallons of fuel for the United States Army and Marine Corps units.

Reported by: Nicole Teigen, nteigen@wtoc.com

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