Main Body of the Third ID Back Home - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

01/26/06

Main Body of the Third ID Back Home

The Bertrand family back together. The Bertrand family back together.

There have been literally thousands of happy stories over the last several weeks as the Third Infantry Division has come home from Iraq. We've shared many of them with you on WTOC. Last night, the final group of the main body of the division returned, leaving only about 300 soldiers in Kuwait.

On Cottrell Field last night, hundreds awaited their joyful reunions with husbands and wives, sons and daughters. For young Joli Bertrand, it would actually be the first time she'd have both parents together.

"She is seven months old," said her father, Sgt. 1st Class Robert Bertrand. "But I didn't get to meet her till I got back from Iraq, when she was--about two weeks ago. And her mom's been gone for three months now. Her mom had to deploy when she was four months old."

At last, Mom was somewhere in there as the soldiers marched in after a long deployment and grueling trip home. "My wife is probably going to be exhausted," Sgt. Bertrand said. "The trip they're taking is like 60 hours total. I know they're going to be exhausted. So I'm going to make sure she's able to get some rest."

Knowing the feeling, veterans pitched in to keep tired soldiers' spirits up, singing The Dog Faced Soldier with the troops.

As loved ones find their warriors in the crowd, Sgt. Bertrand stood beneath a huge banner to make sure his wife would have a hard time missing Joli. No longer required to serve their country overseas for a while, the Bertrands can finally share the joy of parenthood.

As Sgt. Bertrand put it, "She might need to help with the two o'clock diaper changes."

All the Third ID soldiers can expect to remain stateside for about a year as the division refits and trains for whatever its next mission may be.

That last group tying up loose ends in Kuwait is expected home next month.

Reported by: Charles Gray, cgray@wtoc.com

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