Tallahassee Soldiers Return Home

A group of Tallahassee reservists has just returned from Iraq anxious to return to work, school and the arms of their families.

The 351st Postal Unit spent a year in Baghdad struggling to deliver precious letters and packages from home. The soldiers have spent the last year in tents and trailers in Baghdad manning military post offices in the heart of that explosive city.

SGT Charlie Lay says, "You'd be surprised how quickly you get used to a mortar landing 200 meters away. The first time we were all out in the bunker, 10 seconds afterwards, and it's happened three weeks later and it's like, ahh, that's 300 meters away, we don't even have to move."

These 18 men and women are now home.

SGT Benjamin Charleston is completing his fifth deployment, SPC Joshua Durden his first.

Durden says, "I just want to get back to school and relax a little and see some of my friends."

Marilyn Durden, his mother, says, "It's great to have him back home. We really missed him a lot and we just thank everybody for all their prayers."

Most of these soldiers were reunited with their families Monday night when the buses rolled in, but for little Jalissa Russ, it was a complete surprise pulled off by her mom.

Mother Nicole Dixon says, "Just watching the shock on her face, and with her dad, it was touching, very touching."

The 351st Adjutant General Company includes several veteran soldiers and many Tallahassee college students hailing from FAMU, FSU and TCC.


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