Coming Home

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According to information from both the West Virginia National Guard as well as a family support group, the Guard's 1092nd Engineering Battalion is to arrive at Fort Bragg, North Carolina early Thursday, with the A, B and C Companies returning Friday.

A ceremony may take place when it arrives at Charleston's Yeager Airport next Tuesday, and a return to Parkersburg could happen by the end of next week.

“Even if you haven't been able to do that in the past year, now more than ever, these soldiers need to know the community is behind them when they're coming back home," says Kimberly Griffey, Vice-President of the company's Family Members Support Group.

Kimberly, along with Pamela Creel, both have husbands in the Engineering Company. Both say it's been a stressful year since the company was deployed to Iraq. It may remain a time of anxiety, until it's back on American soil.

“There's still that little glimmer of doubt that maybe it's not real, but it mostly seems like reality; like it's going to happen," Creel says.

That reality, no doubt, has been touched in some ways by the deaths of two area soldiers in the past six weeks, but both women also admit that in one way it's a good experience, one they might not otherwise have been able to share.

"I met people I wouldn't have crossed paths with if it hadn't been for this deployment," says Griffey. "People of all ages, backgrounds, and we do have the common bond of or soldier being deployed."

Parkersburg Mayor Jimmy Colombo says the city is considering a public "welcome home" for the 1992nd, but there are no firm plans for a ceremony.