Last Third I.D. Unit Returns - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

02/05/06

Last Third I.D. Unit Returns

Kenneth Kelley gets a loving greeting from his family. Kenneth Kelley gets a loving greeting from his family.

Two hundred and sixty-five soldiers, making up the Third Infantry Division's last unit in Iraq, are now spending their first night at home with their families. After 13 months in Iraq, the soldiers were greeted by their loved ones on Sunday morning. As the last unit of soldiers came marching in, the crowd was cheering, standing on their feet.

"These soldiers have done a great mission over there," explained Lieutenant Colonel Noel Nicolle, "and their families and friends are very proud of these soldiers and glad to have them home."

Diane Simonson of Richmond Hill has welcomed her husband Eric home four times. Each time, she says, she has the same feelings ... of excitement and relief.

"It's been hard," she admitted, "but my friends have been great and I have my partner in crime."

The partner Diane is talking about is Karen Kelley, who's husband, Kenneth, was also overseas.

"We have been waiting for this and it got pushed back," said Kelley. "We are just ready."

The soldiers were also ready.

"It's been a long year," said Kenneth Kelley, greeting his family, "the guys did some neat stuff. We have a lot of catching up to do and lot of time to make up."

"It's always great to be back home," added Diane's husband, Eric.

Even soldiers from the same unit came to welcome their friends home.

"He's last soldier of our unit," said Sergeant Adam Sheldon, "and here we have his friends and family here to see him come back."

"It's a great feeling," added Lieutenant Colonel Nicolle, "and I never get tired of seeing families reunited."

The returning soldiers are members of the Fourth Brigade Combat Team, Division Support Battalion and Special Troop Battalion.

Reported by: Brooke Kelley, bkelley@wtoc.com

 

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