Bamberg soldiers return to grateful families
February 26, 2005
BAMBERG, Germany — About 80 soldiers from 1st Battalion, 6th Field Artillery Regiment and 1st Infantry Division headquarters came home from Iraq to a crowd that included families, friends, the 1st ID commander ... and a Chihuahua named Chico.
Among the returning soldiers at Warner Barracks was Brig. Gen. John W. Morgan III, the 1st ID’s assistant division commander (maneuver).
During a brief ceremony, Maj. Gen. John R.S. Batiste thanked the soldiers for all they did in Iraq. Then the soldiers were released to reunite with family and friends.
As she waited for the soldiers to arrive, along with her red-sweatered Chihuahua, Crystal Vega said it had been a long separation from her husband, Sgt. Javier Vega, of Battery C, 1-6 Field Artillery.
“He was in Iraq last year, then we [relocated] to Germany and he left again,” she said. “We’ve had three months together in two years.”
It wasn’t any easier for the spouses whose husbands were gone for one year.
“The separation was very hard,” said Tamira Roman, whose husband, Pfc. Richard Roman, also with Battery C. “If I hadn’t been surrounded by other military wives in the same boat, this would have been even harder. I was in the States for a while, and people there really can’t understand what we go through.”
Communication also helped, the spouses said.
“It was difficult, but we prayed a lot and we communicated almost every day with e-mails and telephone calls,” said Sharon Ford, whose husband, 1st Sgt. James Ford, with Battery C, 1-6 Field Artillery, was among the returnees. “It’s finally over; he’s really home. He and his soldiers are out of danger.”
Ford learned Wednesday that her husband would be in the group returning Thursday.
“I didn’t sleep at all [Wednesday] night,” she said. “It was a long night, but this last hour of waiting will be even longer.”
And it was longer, with the soldiers delayed by about 15 minutes. But James Ford didn’t care about the delay.
“I’m happy to be home,” he said. “I’m proud of what we did in Iraq, but I’m glad we’re home. Now I’m going to spend some quality time with my family, and let my daughter [Shanquetta] talk my head off.”