Homecoming for 82nd unit at Fort Bragg

FORT BRAGG The 82nd Airborne Division's 3rd Brigade arrived home to Fort Bragg after spending a year in Iraq.

The 3,500 paratrooper brigade has deployed four times since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. The unit operated in and around Baghdad acting as mentors to Iraq security forces.

The brigade, nicknamed the Panthers, has deployed to Afghanistan in July 2002 and twice to Iraq in August 2003 and August 2006. It also aided humanitarian efforts in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

Three members of the 82nd Airborne Division's 3rd Brigade were killed in combat. Specialist Sterling James said he's happy to serve, but there's only one thing better.

"It's great man to be back. I'm glad to be back. Missed my family. Missed my family. [what did you miss the most?] Just being around my family, I missed being back in the states. I'm glad to be overseas fighting for my country but I love being home," James said.

All thirty-five hundred members of the 82nd brigade will be home by Thanksgiving.

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