National Guard unit returns to Oklahoma after a year in Iraq

Wednesday, February 9th 2005, 5:43 am
By: News On 6

FORT SILL, Okla. (AP) -- Cheers and tears greeted members of an Oklahoma Army National Guard unit as they returned home after a year in Iraq.

Roughly 270 members of the 120th Engineer Battalion from Okmulgee marched into the Rhinehart Physical Fitness Center Tuesday at Fort Sill in Lawton.

For many of them, it was a chance to get acquainted, or reacquainted with family members.

When Sergeant David Howe and his fellow soldiers departed for Iraq on January 29th, 2004, Howe left behind his pregnant wife, Amanda, in Claremore. Their daughter, Gracie, is now nine months old.

Specialist David Wilson of Okmulgee spent many nights watching enemy mortar fire from his base outside Fallujah.

The steel worker, who served as a cook in Iraq, clutched his 13-month-old son, Trey, who was a month old when Wilson was deployed.

One member of the unit didn't return. 21-year-old Specialist Kyle Showler Brinlee from Pryor was killed May 11th near Asad, Iraq, when an explosive hit his convoy vehicle.