First Soldiers Return from Operation Iraqi Freedom

 

Written by Sgt. Scott Faddis

 

   
Stephanie Teeples (left) and Marianne Davis (right) hold up a welcome sign as they wait with the families and media for the first group of soldiers to come off the plane.
U.S. Army Photo by Spc. Scott Faddis

Stephanie Teeples (left) and Marianne Davis (right) hold up a welcome sign as they wait with the families and media for the first group of soldiers to come off the plane.

Twenty-one soldiers from the 141st Military Intelligence Battalion returned to Utah on Tuesday, January 27th.  The returning soldiers are the first group of soldiers to return home from being part of Operation Iraqi Freedom 1.  

“They were all over the country working for every major command in the county,” said Maj. Brent Baxter from the 300th MI battalion. 

One of the twenty-one is Sgt. Aaron Townsend.  Townsend is a police officer in St. George as a civilian.   He commented on the differences between Iraqi and Utah police officers.  “Their job over there as Iraqi police officers is tough.  They are afraid to go out on patrol.  They are walking targets.  I feel safer walking patrol by myself than they feel with four or five in a truck.  They are terrified.”

Steven Calder holding balloons while waiting for his dad, Capt. Steven Calder, to arrive at the airport gate.
U.S. Army Photo by Spc. Scott Faddis

Steven Calder holding balloons while waiting

 for his dad, Capt. Steven Calder, to arrive

at the airport gate.

Townsend works counter intelligence and is also a French Linguist.  His job during Operation Iraqi Freedom was to gather intelligence and information from the local population.  The information they were given ranged from people wanting to seriously help the operation to neighbors tattling on each other as personal grudges. 

“One of our toughest jobs was to read through all of the crap to find out what the truth is, and whether it is worth acting on,” said Townsend.  He worked in southern Iraq during the beginning phases of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Later in the year, he moved to central Iraq, near the Baghdad International Airport. 

Sgt. Aaron Townsend leaving SLC Airport.  He will have to wait until Wednesday before being reunited with his family is St. George. 
U.S. Army Photo by Spc. Scott Faddis

Sgt. Aaron Townsend leaving SLC Airport. 

 He will have to wait until Wednesday

before being reunited with his family

n St. George.    

Townsend felt fortunate that most of the areas he was located in were pretty calm throughout the operation.  “I slept most nights,” he said.  “Most nights.”

Townsend will get to finally see his wife and family after spending the night at Camp Williams as part of the out-processing procedure.  He will be flying to St. George today. 

The twenty-one soldiers going through out-process briefings before they can go on their much deserved leave.
U.S. Army Photo by Spc. Scott Faddis

The twenty-one soldiers going through
out-process briefings before they go on a
much deserved leave.