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A local family is thankful this season to celebrate the safe return of two young soldiers from Iraq.
Diane Moore was pleased to see two of her children, U.S. Army Spc. Robert Fach, 21, and U.S. Army Sgt. Danielle Fach, 23, return safely from their deployment in Iraq.
Moore said she's been afraid for her children's safety.
While they were gone, every time she heard the 82nd Airborne mentioned on television, she got an eerie feeling.
"It's nice to have them home for a while," Moore said, although she doesn't know how long that will be.
"We'll be around for a while," said Robert Fach, who recently returned after a 15-month deployment.
Danielle Moore, who worked in a military post office, returned about a year ago. She was supposed to go back to the Middle East in September but didn't after becoming pregnant. She is now five months along and engaged to another soldier.
Robert Fach served in Iraq between August 2006 and November 2007.
He ran security missions on a gun truck to protect supply convoys in southern Iraq, and was stationed at Camp Echo, about 90 miles south of Baghdad.
He was the chief communications person, which is known as a radio transmission operator, or RTO, for his brigade of trucks. His pontoon sergeant recommended that he go to Camp Echo in November 2006 to assume the duty.
"He knows I know my job pretty well," he said. "And he trusted me."
There were fewer clashes with insurgents south of Baghdad than in the capital city and farther north, but the threat, especially from roadside bombs, was still there – and perhaps from a surprising culprit, the Iraqi Army.
"They're supposed to be our allies," Robert Fach said, adding the new Iraqi army still has elements loyal to the government of former dictator Saddam Hussein. They"re hard to fight because they hide so well.
"You can't see them. It's like fighting a ghost," Fach said. "They'll lay out bombs to hit you."
Fach said the most threatening attacks come from IEDs and EFPs, basic roadside bombs. Small-arms fire and RPGs are lesser threats. But soldiers always have to be careful, since insurgents sometimes mix into crowds of ordinary people. Fach said small children would sometimes set up attacks.
On the security missions, all soldiers would scan roadsides and into the distance looking for suspicious activity. Many possible attacks were avoided, because the traps were obvious, with visible trip wires crossing roadways, Fach said.
Although security missions were a large part of his work, Fach remembers his humanitarian missions to hospitals the most. He remembers how grateful the Iraqi women and children he helped were.
Robert and Danielle Fach come from a family of military veterans. Their father was in the U.S. Army and their maternal grandfather was in the U.S. Navy.
Robert Fach said he knew since high school he would be in the military.
Like many other veterans, he plans on using his training to get a good job in the private sector once his service is over. He plans on using the fiber-optics cable certification he earned to get a job for Honeywell in Charleston.
Contact Johnathan Ryan at