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Fort Sill Welcomes Soldiers Home From Deployment

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FORT SILL Okla_ Fort Sill celebrated the return of 160 soldiers Tuesday. Part of the 2nd Battalion, 18th Field Artillery was met with a heroes' welcome.

The unit has spent the last nine months providing a US presence in the Middle East as part of a coalition training mission for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System.

Tuesday was a time of celebration for the artillerymen. The unit accomplished a lot in their mission in the Middle East, but everyone was excited to set foot back on American soil.

For one soldier, Tuesday was long awaited. Sergeant James Burroughs was reunited with his wife and 10-month-old daughter, who was born only 5 weeks before his deployment.

"Through pictures and the little bit I have been able to Skype while I was deployed, I got to see her grow a little bit," Burroughs said. "So, it is a lot different seeing her now, nine months later."

In Tuesday's ceremony, Major General Mark McDonald spoke to the power of a soldier's family, taking care of life at home while the soldier is in battle. Sergeant Burrough's wife, Lauren, knows this challenge firsthand.

"I've been raising her as a single parent, so I have a whole new respect for single parents," Lauren said. "It has been good. We have had a lot of help from friends and family. We are glad to have him home, though."

Sergeant Burroughs now gets to hold his daughter and see her grow. His unit will have time to be with family and friends and to relax before their next mission. However, First Lieutenant Ryan Winstead hopes to continue to see the impact of their work from the last nine months.

"I think that everyone took something away from the deployment," Winstead said. "Lessons learned both positive and negative, everyone learned something. I hope that we are able to continue the training that we did overseas, here with the same kind of off tempo and accomplish the same things here as we were overseas."

About 400 soldiers were originally deployed with the 2nd battalion, 18th Field Artillery. The remainder will return at a later date.

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