"Here they come" down Main Street, Spencer, home at last

The red carpet was rolled out for troops exiting the buses

Guardsman Phil Perkins of Millstone hugs girlfriend Heather Weaver

Leatherbark soldier SSG Stanley Hall welcomed by wife and family

It was a rip-roaring, tear jerkin' homecoming celebration

By Bob Weaver 2004

The 1092nd National Guard unit has graduated from the oft-said statement in years gone by - "They're weekend warriors."

Yesterday the Spencer Detachment came home after a year in Iraq to a rip-roaring welcome from family, neighbors and friends who wanted to pay homage for their service to America.

Sgt. Randy Parsons, at home in Calhoun on leave a few days ago, told the Hur Herald "People should be proud of their hard work and duty." Parsons, an Army career man from Calhoun, said he ran into the Spencer bunch, including several from Calhoun. "They were doing a bang-up job," he said. "These West Virginia men and woman are beyond the call."

Parsons said these country folk have built-in talent, not the least being dedication and comradeship.

Arriving in two buses from Ft. Bragg and escorted by area law enforcement, the local troops came down Main Street to the armory on Arnoldsburg Road to cheers, flag waving and sign holding - a huge gathering of folks from Roane, Calhoun and other counties. It was a sight to see and experience.

When the soldiers got off the bus it was a mad rush by family members and children to embrace them, tears flowing.

It was hugs and kisses from spouses and girlfriends, with small children beginning to recall their missing dads.

One soldier being clung to by his weeping aunt said "Do you have those dumplings ready for me, like you promised?" She said she got up early to start cooking for him. He said "I'd weep too, if you didn't hav'em ready."

Several old soldiers from the American Legion were part of the welcome. One said "Look at their boots. They're really worn." Another commented on the escalation of the war during the past 24-hours, where the 1092nd had been stationed. "Maybe our prayers brought them home in the nick of time," he said.

Virtually every person in the greater Spencer community was in on the event, but dozens of folks from Calhoun County were there too, with several Calhoun men attached to the unit.

The soldiers settled in to enjoy food prepared for them, but more importantly driving down the country roads, home again.

It was the first time the unit has been called to war duty since Korea, although the unit was called during the Berlin crisis in the 60s.

Kids get a first glimpse of bus coming down U.S. 33-119

Calhoun group gets ready to welcome SSGT Hall

"It's good to be home"

Hugs, kisses and tears

What it's all about for SSGT Hall, coming home
to his quiet home on Leatherbark, Calhoun County