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April 13, 2010 3:19 am

Troops return after yearlong deployment

Written by Tribune Staff

Powell father A.J. Simonson took his children to the movie theater last week — an everyday experience for many local dads, but a significant one for Simonson. Having just returned from a yearlong deployment that took him to Kuwait, Simonson is enjoying moments spent at home, back with his family.

Following the single largest deployment in state history, more than 700 Wyoming Army National Guard members recently came back to the Cowboy State. Thankfully, no Wyoming members were killed during the 12-month deployment.

Soldiers who are beloved husbands, wives, sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, cousins, neighbors and friends safely returned to their communities, to those they love.

Our admiration, gratitude and appreciation are with them as they adjust to life back in Wyoming.

The springtime return of the National Guard members coincides with the anniversary of Powell Troop Support's founding.

Weeks after the war in Iraq started in March 2003, local residents mobilized to form Powell Troop Support. In the past seven years, the dedicated group has mailed thousands of packages to military servicemen and women overseas, providing support in a tangible, and often edible, way.

The troops' recent homecoming and Powell Troop Support's anniversary exemplify the tenacity of Wyoming residents who remain dedicated after years of ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Though seven years and thousands of miles have distanced many of us from the reality of war, families in Wyoming know its reality all too well.

As residents statewide welcomed home their loved ones earlier this month, Gillette buried one of its own — 19-year-old Marine Lance Cpl. Jacob Ross, who was killed in southern Afghanistan.

His death reminds us of the very real costs of war. And it stirs hope that the wars in the Middle East may end soon.