Guardmen return home from Bosnia

Monday, April 2nd 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Green country soldiers returned home Saturday evening after making history. They were the first National Guard combat unit to help establish peace in Bosnia.

KOTV's Donn Robertson was there when about 100 soldiers returned home Saturday and saw their families for the first time in six months. Family members cheered from above once the soldiers arrived at Tulsa's National Guard Armory. The guardsmen have been away from their normal jobs and haven't seen their loved ones in six months; the last half an hour may have been the toughest.

They have to turn their weapons in before they can make any contact with family. Gary Devoir, one of the soldiers, "I was trying not to look while the general was talking. I was scanning up and down trying to find my wife." Gary Devore's wife, Angela, was up above watching, with their daughter, and younger son. "I was real worried he would whether he would know me or not." The Oklahoma soldiers were the first National Guard combat unit in Bosnia. The series of ethnic wars in the 90's split up Yugoslavia.

The local infantry patrolled the countryside, looking for caches of weapons. Devore says, "You may have Muslims living within 5 miles or 20 miles from Croats or the Serbian people. They are trying to get along, I think our main thing was just keeping the peace."

Now the guardsmen get back to their regular military duty, which is one weekend a month, and two weeks out of the year or until they are called upon again.