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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Local soldiers come home for holidays

Friday, December 22, 2006

The home of Jean and the late Jim Perkins, 403 E. Columbia St., Roachdale, has been decorated for Christmas for 49 years and was named "The Gingerbread House" by many youngsters. This Christmas, Perkins' grandson Jordan Almanza decided to decorate his grandparents' yard in memory of Jim.
Just in time for Christmas, a group of local National Guard soldiers serving in Iraq is on its way home.

Officials with the Indiana National Guard said Friday that a group of about 150 soldiers from the 81st Troop Command, 2nd Battalion, 150th Field Artillery, which includes about 17 soldiers from the Greencastle unit, will arrive at the Indianapolis International Airport at around 11 p.m. today.

Family members and anyone from the public is invited to be at the 38th Infantry Division Armory when the soldiers arrive. The location is 3912 W. Minnesota St., Indianapolis.

Families and friends have been advised that all flights are subject to change due to aircraft availability, weather and air traffic control measures.

"We are indebted to these citizen soldiers and their families for the sacrifices they made for our state and nation, and are very happy for their safe return," National Guard officials said in a press release.

Greencastle resident Mike Murphy's son Patrick is one of the local soldiers scheduled to return home today.

He said his son contacted his wife earlier this week and told her he would be returning home soon.

Murphy said he also spoke to his son and learned that the local soldiers had been assisting and training Iraqi police in the city of Mosul.

He said the living conditions in the city were understandably poor compared to what we are used to here at home.

While stationed in Iraq, the soldiers were exposed to their share of danger, including roadside bombs and suicide bombers, Murphy said.

They also spent some time in northern Iraq near the border with Afghanistan, a much cleaner and safer area than in Mosul.

Many local families are planning celebrations to welcome their loved ones home this weekend.

Murphy speculated that the troops would be issued passes in order to spend the holiday weekend with their families. But he thought possibly the soldiers would be called back after Christmas to go through debriefing, most likely at Camp Atterbury.

The Greencastle National Guard post, under the direction of Sgt. Robert Lamb, currently has 63 active duty personnel from several communities in the area.

Of those, 17 are serving duty in Iraq.

The Greencastle Guard soldiers were called to active duty in October of 2005, Murphy said, but were not deployed to Iraq until January of this year.

"After more than a year of not seeing my son, I can't wait to see him," Murphy said.

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