Homecoming

Note: In February 2012, the New England Newspaper and Press Association honored the “Mission: Iraq” series with second place in the special award category in the New England Better Newspaper competition.

For 220th soldiers, life begins after Iraq

Published  April 26, 2011 12:15 pm

By Casey Farrar Sentinel Staff

JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. — The soldiers sat quietly in 11 straight rows facing forward, a mass of green, tan and brown camouflage.Fifteen months ago, more than 150 Army reservists from across the U.S. left their jobs and families to prepare for deployment to Iraq with the Keene-based 220th Transportation Company.
Together they spent four months training at Army bases across the country, a few weeks acclimating to the desert heat in Kuwait and then more than nine months living in northern Iraq. During their time at Contingency Operating Base Speicher, outside Tikrit, the unit completed 170 convoy missions, logging more than 400,000 miles.
Friday evening, 146 of the soldiers gathered one last time in a small chapel on a military base in New Jersey for a ceremony that officially ended their deployment.
Family members and friends filled rows of chairs behind the soldiers. For many of the soldiers, the occasion was the first glimpse in months of their loved ones. Others wouldn’t see their families until they arrived home.
Brig. Gen. Peter S. Lennon, who leads the Pennsylvania-based 316th Expeditionary Sustainment Command to which the unit belongs, told the soldiers Friday’s ceremony marked “the final page in your deployment scrapbook.”
Despite the soldiers’ solemn faces and stiff postures, an air of excitement buzzed through the room. Knees bounced, feet shuffled and occasionally a soldier glanced back, flashing a smile at a mother, a father, a wife or a child.
They were all ready for the next chapter. Continue reading
Advertisements

Long time, no posts

Note: In February 2012, the New England Newspaper and Press Association honored the “Mission: Iraq” series with second place in the special award category in the New England Better Newspaper competition.

I haven’t posted stories here for a while, but there have been a lot of exciting things going on lately.  In November, I went on a reporting trip to Iraq to cover the Keene-based 220th Transportation Company. My stories from the trip, along with photo galleries and the transcript of a live chat I did there, are all gathered on the Keene Sentinel’s website at: http://www.sentinelsource.com/news/special_reports/mission_iraq/mission-iraq/collection_f098fd16-4bf3-11e0-8155-001cc4c002e0.html?success=1.

I also blogged during the trip on my travels and random observations at http://missioniraq.wordpress.com/.

Additionally, today my trip was featured on Emerson College’s homepage. Here’s the write up, by Carole McFall of the Emerson College marketing department: Emerson write up

The three-week trip was eye-opening and one of my most enjoyable reporting experiences thus far (only slightly edging out almost being squished by a falling ice-covered tree while covering the December 2008 ice storm).