397th Returns to Dodgeville

By: Zac Schultz
By: Zac Schultz

Dodgeville: The bus carrying the returning members of the 397th Engineering Battalion probably didn't need a police escort in Dodgeville, but it got one anyway.

Family members waited impatiently as the 7 members got into formation to be welcomed and dismissed. But finally it was time for hugs and tears.

"It has definitely been a long wait. I was with the family readiness group. It was a lot of work but it paid off well," says parent Jim Hull.

PFC Kent Witte hasn't seen his son since he was on leave six months ago. "Got to see him for 2 weeks and this is the first time since then."

The 397th has been activated for 16 months, they've spent the last 12 in Afghanistan. With all the attention on the insurgency in Iraq,
It wasn't easy for those left behind to get information.

"Very, very hard. I would love to see more information about Afghanistan. It's the forgotten war for sure. We definitely need to hear more about it. We've got a lot of boys over there," says Hull.

It was even worse when the soldiers didn't have time to send news home. "There was times when we'd have 4 weeks were we didn't hear from him at all. We searched everywhere–papers, radio, internet–everywhere," says Hull.

Kent says in Afghanistan, most of their news came from the Armed Forces Network and even they couldn't get much news. "For the most part it was Iraq. If something big happened there was a little blip on the TV about Afghanistan."

Alyssa Hull had her new husband in Afghanistan, so she equated no news with good news. "I'd rather not hear bad things about there. So it was nice that we didn't have to worry as much."

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