Soldiers Coming Home

Soldiers Coming Home
By: Arnold Wyrick
Carbondale, IL - It was early January 2005 and dozens of soldiers with "C" Company 133rd Signal Battalion packed their bags and headed off to the War in Iraq. But their time on the battlefield is coming to a close, and the troops are coming home.
Businesses in Carbondale, Du Quoin, and Murphysboro are decked out with yellow ribbons everywhere you look. Flags fly proudly in the breeze as the patriotism overflows within the communities.
Inside of the Carbondale Armory home of the 133rd Signal, fellow soldiers are preparing things for their comrades arrival.
"We've had a briefing meeting on How to Basically. Their soldiers are going to have to readjust and get back into civilian life. We don't know what they've been put through. We don't know what they've seen," says Family Readiness Group Leader Angie Brown.
Soldiers spread the red, white, and blue tablecloths over tables topped with patriotic hats, and banners. As others quickly began setting up paper plates and cups in anticipation of things to come.
"Some of them got to come home for a couple of weeks for leave, some of them didn't. So for some of them it's been 18 months since they've seen their family. So we're going to keep it short and sweet. So they can get to their families as quickly as possible," says Staff Sergeant Bobbi Franklin.
This is more then just preparing families for their loved ones to return for Brown. She's also welcoming home her husband Master Sergeant Richard Brown.
"I think it's going to be getting to know each other again. It's been a year and a half of the long distance. Just phone calls and e-mails," Brown said as she smiled at the thought of seeing her husband on Wednesday afternoon.
Just the thought of her fellow soldiers coming back from war torn Iraq brought tears to Staff Sergeant Franklin's eyes.
"Actually a lot of the soldiers that left are friends of mine. I'm just excited that they're going to be home. And I'll be able to see them again," Franklin said as she wiped tears of joy from her eyes.
The unit is expected to arrive at the Williamson County Airport around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, then they'll take a bus to their armory in Carbondale. Look for complete coverage of the troops coming home on Heartland News.