They are the largest group of soldiers deployed from Kentucky since World War Two and now nearly 500 National Guardsmen from our region are halfway through one year of service in Iraq. Now some of the soldiers are coming home for a few days on furlough and bringing with them the stories of war.
"A quiet day can maybe not be so quite in just a matter of seconds," said Spc. Chris Hoskins, 149th Battalion Soldier.
Chris Hoskins is six months into his year of service in Iraq, but right now he's out of his fatigues home on a ten day leave.
"Whenever you walk up to somebody and they wrap their arms around, you, you can't help but cry because you're so happy to be at home," Hoskins said.
He says the 149th Battalion doesn't hear much about the politics of war back in the U.S. because they are focused only on the job at hand and much of that job is protecting each other.
"You've always got to be aware of your surroundings and your friends, because you're taking care of your family over there. Your platoon, your team, that's your family," Hoskins said.
That family of Mountain Warriors has been fortunate, no major injuries, no casualties so far. Hoskins says it's not all explosions and gunfights but he also says they can never let their guard down.
"If we didn't worry about that, something would be wrong. You don't want to get complacent about that," Hoskins said.
He says the Mountain Warriors don't worry about why they are there. He says the local children in these pictures say it all.
"We don't even get to the political part of it. We're a soldier and we're out there doing a job to make the world a safer place," Hoskins said.
And he says criticism of the war is often times, motivation.
"That's what we're hoping to give people in Iraq their own opinions," Hoskins said.
Coming up Sunday on Nightwatch, we'll show you why Hoskins says the children of Iraq are such an important part of their service and what he says about all the support the 149th is getting from Eastern Kentuckians.