16 Allendale soldiers return from yearlong Iraq tour

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News 12 at 11, August 25, 2007

ALLENDALE, S.C.---16 Soldiers from the 266th Quartermaster detachment returned to Allendale this morning, after spending the past year in Iraq.

It's a homecoming they will always remember.

"All week has been hard to sleep," Renee Westman said.

Renee couldn't wait for this day to come. But when her husband Sgt. John Westman finally did arrive, he got a surprise of his own.

"When I first walked in, I didn't recognize who she was," Westman said.

That's because his wife decided to lose weight while he was away.

"She done that. It was awesome! I was just glad to be able to hold her again," he said.

The time apart was tough for the Westman family.

"It's like I lost track of who they are," he said.

Sgt. John Westman was part of a team that did combat patrols and took on more than 100 missions. He said roadside bombs were everywhere.

"It's a different kind of war. It's not like it was ten, twelve years ago. You can't fight something that you can't see," Westman said.

He says the thing that kept him going, was knowing he'd be seeing his family again.

"It's pretty tough to keep the morale up, but we made it. We made it through," he said.

With big smiles and lots of tears, Renee said she is relieved her husband is finally safe at home.

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