Men and women from Leesburg-based C Company, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team had been in Iraq since September and in training for several months prior to that, leaving behind friends and family who anxiously awaited their return. According to one soldier, the feeling was mutual.The Guard, whose duties prior to the past few years have been concerned with helping out with national disasters like forest fires and hurricanes, served with honor and distinction, and all the commonwealth thanks them for their service and is thrilled to have them home safely.
Pfc. Justin Arndt, who is based out of Lynchburg, said the waiting was the hardest part.
"You learn when you're younger that the more you think about it the harder it gets," Arndt said. "But I was counting every second once I heard we were coming home." - Leesburg Today
According to Maj. Cotton Puryear, nine soldiers were wounded during their tour of duty in Iraq, all of whom were able to return to duty. There were no fatalities. - Leesburg TodayLoudounExtra has some photos of their return here.
Since the beginning of the Iraq war, 117 Virginians have given their lives far from home in a fight with no clear goal and no clear end. While we are eternally grateful to have our neighbors home, our hearts and prayers go out to those whose family has given the highest sacrifice in the service of our country.
We have a million things to decide upon in our elections this year, but let us not forget that our neighbors are putting their lives on the line in Iraq and Afghanistan every day. We must honor that service and think long and hard about our choices in the voting booth. One party proposes things like a new GI Bill for veterans of our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Another makes it more difficult for wounded veterans to vote.
We have a choice in November. Remember that.