Man Driven To Serve National Guard Members

Monday, May 25th 2009, 9:55 pm
By: News On 6

By Jeffrey Smith, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Dozens of Green Country soldiers are enjoying their first full day back home.

Eighty Army National Guard members returned home Sunday after spending the last eight months in Iraq.

5/24/2009  Related Story: National Guardsmen Return Home From Iraq

During the homecoming, it's fair to say no one paid attention to Gary Sharp.

Sharp's one of the bus drivers who brought the soldiers to Tulsa from Fort Sill, in Lawton.

Last October, he drove the men and women off to war.

"They're a lot quieter when they're leaving than when they're coming back. When they're coming home, they just keep telling you, ‘how fast can we get there,'" said Gary Sharp.

Sharp is a veteran himself, serving a tour in Vietnam in 1969.

"As a Vietnam veteran, we had none of this. So, it's good to see it and to see how it's changed, how the people are happy to see the soldiers come back home," said Sharp.

So what's it like on that bus for those three hour trips?

"I really never saw tears either way because they've got a job to do. They're glad to go, but they're glad to get back home," said Sharp.

And coming home couldn't come fast enough.

"This bus can't go fast enough. It seemed like it took forever to get here," said Spc. Jeffery Etheridge, Army National Guard.

The drivers aren't allowed inside for the big welcome home bash. Sharp says he would have liked to be there, but he has a job to do.

A job he calls one of the greatest honors of his life.

"I just feel like it's good to be a part of anything that's coming back home for the military," said Sharp.

And he's proud that these guys did their jobs, too.