Soldiers Return Home

1 decade 1 year 5 months ago Sunday, July 08 2007 Jul 8, 2007 Sunday, July 08, 2007 4:16:54 AM CDT July 08, 2007 in News

After more than a year-long deployment in Afghanistan, members of Forward 55 say they are glad they made it back safe and sound. In today's special ceremony, their families and the Missouri National Guard said thank you to them.

"It's a very distinguished honor, I mean it's something I'll cherish forever," said Dennis Lenger, one of the members of Forward 55 honored in the special ceremony.

He and the other soliders worked hand-in-hand with the Afghanistan National Army as embedded tactical trainers. He says the deployment was gratifying, but he missed home.

"Being able to sit-down at night, in your recliner in your living room and enjoying some family time, ya know, with them and tv watching, ya know just little things like that you learn to miss and appreciate," said Lenger.

His wife Rebecca Lenger says that worrying about her husband every night made for some tense moments.

"A lot of stuff goes through your mind, his safety for one.... praying daily that they're all all right... The phone calls that I did get, you'd hear rpg's falling," she said.

When Rebecca first found out that Dennis was going abroad, she was in shock. Typically he would send troops, but this time he went himself.

"The first thing was anger," said Rebecca. "I was like, what do you mean you're just the one sendin', not goin', but then, once it sunk in, it was like yeah I knew this was part of what he wanted to do and I supported that."

Dennis says the support from his wife and others is what made this ceremony special.

"It makes a big difference that they're noticed," said Rebecca.

And as for her husband, he says he will always remember the time he spent with Forward 55th and the recognition he received.

"It was something I always wanted to do and I've been in it ever since," said Dennis. "I've been active duty for 28 plus years. It's just gratifying. It's the profession I chose."

Dennis Lenger says he will now retire from active duty, and he is seeking new employment. No word yet on where he will work, but he says he would like to work for the state.

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