By: Wendy Suares
Soldiers from the 155th Brigade Combat Team recently returned home from nearly a year serving in Iraq.
About thirty-five hundred Mississippians were among those Army National Guard members.
More than fifty soldiers in the 155th stand proud in front of state lawmakers.
But their leader, Brigadier General Leon Collins, can't help getting choked up as he reflects on the fourteen Mississippi soldiers killed in combat while in Iraq.
Fighting back tears, Gen. Collins says, "We'll never be able to forget them. And they will always be heros."
Collins, of Jackson, was named General while in Iraq. He says his guardsmen faced a difficult task, of fighting insurgents in the so called "Triangle of death" with one hand, while rebuilding iraq with the other.
Lt. Governor Amy Tuck says, "They accomplished that mission with courage, honor, and diginity, and we're glad you're back home."
Though they are now home and back with their families, readjustment can be difficult. More than half the soldiers in the 155th have filed disability claims.
Gen. Collins says, "It's tough. It's going to be awhile before they get back into the swing of things. For the last year they've been in a combat theater... Now they're trying to get their life back on track."
Both the Senate and House held separate ceremonies Thursday. Each passed resolutions to honor the soldiers of the 155th and their leader, General Collins.
Battalions from other states augmented the 155th. The brigade lost a total of 27 soldiers killed in Iraq.
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