A Bittersweet Homecoming for Iraq Troops

They are coming home now from the battlefields of Iraq, welcomed with celebrations fit for warriors, reports CBS News correspondent Dean Reynolds.

"It's amazing," Sgt. Jorge Reyes told CBS News. "I've been anticipating it for ah, gosh, almost a year, and it's just amazing to see my family again."

War in Iraq Not Over for Families of Remaining Troops

And yet it has often been a troubled re-entry for troops from the combat zone.

Here at Fort Stewart, Georgia and other installations, they are drilled on what to expect at home.

"You've got kids that you have to re-establish that connection to," said an instructor.

Sgt. Major Jon Helring and his wife Sonya returned Wed. from Tikrit, a town northwest of Baghdad.

Sgt. Sonya Helring doesn't feel like the war is over.

"It doesn't feel like that because we left our soldiers back there.," said Helring.

She's talking about the American forces still in Iraq who are there to advise and assist. Judging from the recent spate of bombings in Iraq, they'll have to do a lot of both.

To Nikki Ackles, that sounds like real combat.

"There are still bad people in Iraq who do bad things to our soldiers no matter what the name of the mission is," said Ackles.

Nikki's husband Capt. Eric Ackles went to Iraq on July 1 and won't be back for a year. She anxiously notes the newest casualties from Iraq at Fort Stewart's Warrior's Walk.

"It's Iraq, Iraq, Iraq," Ackles said, pointing at memorials with flags on the ground.

She worries that the American public may now turn away from the conflict there - considering it done.

"Don't forget us," Ackles said. "We're still there, It's not over until ever last soldier is home."

For the next year, Nikki, Eric and their three children will visit long distance over the computer.
  • Dean Reynolds

    Dean Reynolds is a CBS News National Correspondent based in Chicago.

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