Local soldiers return from deployment in Iraq

PASADENA, TX Since 2001, we've seen local families and their soldiers cope with war. We've seen them say goodbye at the beginning of long deployments and emotionally reunite when the job is over. It's always easier for the families to say hello again rather than goodbye, and that was the case again today for some soldiers who've come home to Texas.

After nine months together, seven of them in Iraq, the Texan soldiers are home and they are celebrating.

For Staff Sergeant Charles Petry, his wife, and five daughters, this is a long time coming, especially since this was his third tour.

"The hardest part was just being away from my family. That was the hardest part for me," said Petry.

"Now he's home, so he's got a list of things that he needs. The honey-do's. Nine months worth, yeah," said his wife, Evangeline Petry

Petry is one of 144 soldiers with the Alpha Company 72nd Brigade from Pasadena. Another is Sergeant William Gutierrez.

"I knew it was going to be a long and hard mission for us. But my soldiers did an outstanding job," said Gutierrez.

His wife is still there, but he's home now with one daughter who just enlisted in the National Guard and another who's a senior in high school.

"Go away and come back and it puts everything into perspective," Gutierrez said.

The unit actually came home two months early, and with just a week's notice, the American Legion post in Pasadena stepped to say thanks and host this welcome home.

"I myself am a vet and when I came home from Vietnam 30 years ago, we didn't have the support that we're giving these boys. And I've always felt that we should support our troops," said Randy George, American Legion Post Commander.

That's not lost on any of the families here including Petry.

"We know that we had other veterans that came before us and we really appreciate all that they are doing for us," he said.

The soldiers now have a 60 day leave from all military responsibilities. But we're told they won't really begin training again for another six months. As for the unit's next deployment, that likely wouldn't happen for another five years.

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