National Guard group returns home from Iraq


After a short ceremony in a flight hanger, all of the soldiers headed off to spend their first night at home after many months.

With a quick handshake from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and long-awaited hugs and kisses from family members, about 100 members of the Headquarters Company, 49th Military Police Brigade arrived home after a year in Iraq.

"It's awesome. It's awesome. It really makes me feel good, especially to see this guy," said Spc. Paul Bradford.

"It feels great to be back in California for sure," said Spc. Rommel Vazquez.

On their second tour, the 49th finished what they started in 2006 -- training Iraqi police. They were the last military police brigade deployed and their return represents the continued drawdown of U.S. troops in Iraq.

"It was very well done and I think the Iraqis appreciate it and learned a lot and there were good people to work with," said Lt. Col Derrick Boler.

For many of these soldiers and their loved ones, this homecoming didn't come a moment too soon.

"I'm so glad to be home. It's been a long year," said Sgt. Deanna Gray.

Besides training Iraqi police, the members of the 49th also teamed with them to provide security for Iraq's second national election, held earlier this year.

At this point, there's is no plan for the 49th to return to Iraq for a third tour.

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