Fort Bragg Soldiers Return from Nine Months in Iraq


Lt. Corbin Perry waited nine months to hold his 10-month-old daughter, Nora.

On Monday, Perry was finally reunited with Nora and his wife, Lucy.

"I felt like I'm missing out on her growing up," Perry said as he cradled his daughter.

Perry was among about 380 paratroopers with 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, who returned after a nine-month deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the United State's intervention against the Islamic State. Paratroopers deployed to advise and assist the Iraqi Army.

The Perry family was able to spend time together before he left but relied on video chatting during his deployment. Nora reached her hands up to her father's face and stared as he smiled down at her.

"We're going to be spending time catching up," Perry said.

Brig. Gen. Brian Winski, deputy commanding general for the 82nd Airborne Division, greeted the soldiers before releasing them to eager families.

"The sense of pride you're feeling right now is never going to fade," Winski said. "We're just all really proud to have you home."

Col. Curtis A. Buzzard, brigade commander, said he was pleased with the work of his soldiers and confident in the transition to 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division of Fort Drum, New York.

"I'm super proud of the brigade, those who forward deployed and those who stayed back here," he said. "I think we did a great job setting conditions and establishing momentum."

Among its accomplishments, the brigade trained Iraqi Security Forces at partner capacity sites, secured several critical facilities and provided logistical support at almost all sites in Iraq.

The brigade trained more than 12,000 Iraqi soldiers and teams across multiple Iraqi Army echelons, Buzzard said.

The brigade will have some time off before preparing to build back its readiness, Buzzard said.

It's time off that 14-year-old Justin Conway is looking forward to. His father, 1st Sgt. Ryan Conway, deployed just after Christmas.

His father had deployed multiple times to Afghanistan and Iraq, Justin Conway said.

Now that his father is back, Conway said, he's looking forward to playing baseball together. And he's excited that his father will be able to watch him play baseball at Jack Britt High School.

Staff Sgt. Andrew Peck held a bouquet of flowers as he waited for his wife, Sgt. Leah Peck.

The Pecks, who have been married for about a year, were able to video chat during the deployment.

But nothing compares with time together, Andrew Peck said.

"I'm really nervous," he said, cracking a smile.

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