Soldiers return from Afghanistan

April 9, 2009 2:38:12 PM PDT
The airplane touched down at Pope Air Force base three hours earlier than expected. Families waved flags and welcome home signs as about 70 members of the 503rd Military Police Company marched out.After a very brief ceremony, the hugging and kissing began.

Command Sergeant Major Todd Spradling's family was excited. The battalion's top NCO missed the birth of his third child. But he said that was okay because in the Army you lead by example.

"I'm mean, we kind of planned it that way. A lot of times guys miss the birth of their children and I wouldn't feel right as the Battalion Sergeant Major if I came back and they didn't get the chance," he said.

The separations are extremely hard on families. Captain Sarah Morris had to leave her son behind. Thursday, she was hugging the heck out of him.

"It actually went by pretty fast. We were really busy, so I think it went by fast for him too," she said.

Like many of the soldiers, it was SFC Tony Almore's third deployment. He missed the simple things in life.

"Ah, getting up in my car going to the movies, something like that. Enjoying myself going fishing. Just being around my family basically," he said.

The MPs controlled four military police companies in the eastern part of Afghanistan. They also taught Afghan police how to provide security for themselves.

"That's true in Iraq and it's true in Afghanistan. The exit strategy for us is getting their capability and their ability to get their own problem solved," offered Col. Robert Byrd.


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