Emotional reunions for Schofield soldiers returning from Iraq - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Emotional reunions for Schofield soldiers returning from Iraq

The 25th Infantry Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team returns to Schofield Barracks The 25th Infantry Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team returns to Schofield Barracks
Lacey Loughlin Lacey Loughlin
John McClellan John McClellan
Alexander Mireles Alexander Mireles

By Lisa Kubota - bio | email

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS (HawaiiNewsNow) - More than 350 Schofield Barracks soldiers returned to Hawaii on Tuesday after a year-long deployment in Iraq. The families of the men and women from the 25th Infantry Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team anxiously waited for a glimpse of their loved ones at Wheeler Army Airfield.

"Really excited. I cannot wait. It's a surreal moment right now," said Lacey Loughlin, the wife of a soldier.

During their tour of duty, the soldiers spent time in three northern provinces: Diyala, Salah ad Din and Kirkuk. They helped to train Iraqi security forces as part of Operation New Dawn. Five soldiers in the brigade were killed in action.

"It's a sad fact and we mourn all of our fallen soldiers. They were few, but it's still something that you want to bring everyone home," said Col. John McClellan.

Alexander Mireles couldn't wait to see his wife and three children. This was his third deployment in six years.

"Before when I left my wife was pregnant the first time. Then my wife was pregnant with our daughter. It was hard cause I wanted to be there for my kids," said Mireles. "They understand, but it doesn't matter. I come home and this is what I look forward to every time."

The brigade includes nearly 4,000 soldiers. They started returning to Hawaii three weeks ago. All of them should be back by the end of the month.

"I think our brigade accomplished a lot and Iraq still has a ways to go. We still have a few months in the U.S. Mission. The president has said the end of 2011, and everyone over there is on track to fulfill that directive," said McClellan.

The brigade is not the last unit from Schofield Barracks in Iraq. The 25th Infantry Division Headquarters is deployed to Baghdad, and is expected to return in November.

 

Copyright 2011 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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