The Minnesota National Guard unit that served an extended tour in Iraq is now back home. As I understand it, the soldiers have returned over the past few weeks with the last group arriving today. You won’t find a report anywhere else like that provided to us by reader Jim Snyder, who was on the scene in Owatonna, Minnesota:
Just thought you would like to know, my wife, my daughter and I just returned from Owatonna where we met-up with the rest of the family early this morning anxiously awaiting the arrival of our nephew, SSGT Paul Dellwo, and the men of Co. B, Ist of 133d Infantry at the Owatonna National Guard Armory.
It was a fantastic morning. And the weather was as good as I can ever remember for a July morning in Minnesota.
Unlike the faces of the indifferent which met me at Seattle Tacoma Airport as I navigated my way from the line at the ticket counter to the line at the boarding gate 38 years ago this month, the grounds at the Owatonna Armory were filled with the faces of anticipation, which soon changed to tears of joy and hugs of love.
It was an incredibly moving celebration, a heartwarming reunion, a moment that will be remembered for a long time.
The people there could not do enough for our returning freedom fighters. And, while many men and women have served honorably and bravely in this war, calling these guys freedom fighters is not a polite gesture. These guys spend 16 month in the open and on convoy support, such that they return having earned the distinction that only men who serve in a combat role can wear: The Combat Infantry Badge.
There were more American flags on display than perhaps all the flags in the public schools across Minnesota. They do still fly flags in public schools in Minnesota, don