Returning Soldiers Face New Challenges

For 16 months, Sgt. Eric Myrold's world was patrolling the dusty, dangerous streets of Fallujah.

By the time he and his Minnesota National Guard unit came home for good, they'd been gone the better part of two years.

"Brianna, is there any way to explain how much you've missed your daddy?" asks CBS News correspondent Cynthia Bowers.

"I missed him — a really lo, a really, really, really much," she says.

But time didn't stand still while her daddy was gone. Brianna started grade school and got new front teeth. Myrold's youngest, Madison, went from baby talk to speaking her own mind.

All along, wife Marge held it together: calling the shots, managing the money and making sure her children didn't forget daddy — even as she worried that the man who eventually came home might not be the same one she married.

Bowers Blogs: When The Weekend Becomes 22 Months
"I don't know what some of those demons are that the men have dealt with and how they're going to deal with them at home," Marge said.

Everyone knew Iraq could be deadly, and it was. The Minnesota National Guard lost 12 soldiers there. But what no one expected was that the home front would prove so dangerous; that two more soldiers would die after they got home. One was killed during a run-in with police last year. Another was shot at a park last month.

It may sound odd, but many find the black-and-white of life in a combat zone to be simpler than life in the real world.

"You either get an order or take an order. You don't negotiate an order," says Col. Kevin Gerdes. "That mentality served them well in Iraq, but now that they're home we can't just flip a switch."

So the Minnesota Guard instituted a new program, "Beyond the Yellow Ribbon," that requires soldiers who spend six months in Mississippi preparing for war to spend some time preparing for life back home and the inevitable war of wills.

"I was a platoon sergeant, so what I said, others did. And I'm sure we'll have some adjustment phase here at home," he says as he looks at his smiling wife.


What no one knows is just how long the reunion will last: Eighty percent of the Bravo Company soldiers who just got home and who were eligible to re-enlist have.

"We've got an all-volunteer army for a reason," Myrold said. "There's only a certain type of individual that can be do it, and I think I'm one of them."

That means he could be doing another tour, So he and his family know they have to make the most of the moments they have together.
  • Michelle Singer

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