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Home in time for holidays
Soldiers return to loved ones Tuesday from Iraq
WelcomeHome-White Family Re-United
Private first class T.J. White, embraces his 5-month old son, Ben, as his wife, Megan, looks on. (Randy C. Murray)

The families of more than 50 soldiers assigned to the 24th Ordnance Company, 87th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 3rd Sustainment Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, got an early Christmas gift Tuesday with the return of their loved ones from Iraq.
Prior to their soldiers’ arrival at Fort Stewart’s Newman Fitness Center, friends and family members filled the bleachers, waving tiny American flags and large posters to welcome the troops home as the 3rd ID band provided patriotic music and a video montage of the soldiers rolled. In addition to CSSB Commander Lt. Col. Lance C. Curtis and Command Sgt. Maj. Cynthia Howard, the soldiers were welcomed by the Liberty chapter of the Vietnam Veterans Association.
Children like Leilani Morales, 4, her sister, Kayla, 3, and brother TJ, 9, anxiously raced in circles, weaving between the adults who towered over them. Their mother, MaiLing Morales, tried to keep her children together as she held a poster for her husband, Sgt. Israel Morales.  Mia Vogan, 4, sat quietly in mother Robyn’s lap while Mia’s brothers, Sean, 6, and Jacob, 4, leaned back on their bleacher seats, occasionally waving flags while peering at the animated crowd gathering for the soldiers’ imminent return.
Families visited and made small talk as they waited. Sgt. Secorah Arbuckle, a 24th Ordnance soldier who only recently returned from Iraq herself, introduced her daughter, Alyssa, 3, to Megan White and her son, Ben, 5 months. White said her husband, Pfc. TJ White, was able to meet their son just before he was deployed four months ago.
Read more in the Dec. 10 edition of the News.

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