Highland Home soldier returns home

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 21, 2006

&#8220We do not know how blessed we really are.”

With the return of the 3/117th Field Artillery Battalion out of Troy on Jan. 31, Sgt. Danny Brown of Highland Home said that being thankful for everything we have here in the United States is just one of many thoughts that come to his mind these days.

&#8220And, we need to be thankful to all of the people who fought before us in order to give us the freedoms we enjoy today.”

Of course, he did not hesitate to add the gratitude that is owed to the troops he left behind.

&#8220Being away from your family was definitely the hardest thing about being in Iraq,” he said.

Sgt. Brown was deployed to Camp Shelby, Miss., on Nov. 7, 2004, to undergo intensive training. His unit was deployed on Feb. 5, 2005, and was stationed in Taji, Iraq.

&#8220We did convoy security,” he said. &#8220Taji is 12 miles north of Baghdad. You had American names and Iraqi names for the bases. Camp Cooke was the American name for Taji, Iraq.”

Camp Cooke is a forward operating base, also known as a FOB.

&#8220When you go outside the FOB, you have to be willing to put everything on the line because you never know if you're going to make it back,” he said.

With the insurgents putting out IEDs, or improvised explosive devices, soldiers never knew where they were planted or if they would come upon one.

All 120 soldiers in Brown's unit returned safely home.

&#8220The Iraqis have come a long way,” he said. &#8220The people are taking on more roles in being responsible for the security in their country. They're starting over from the ground up, so everything's not going to be accomplished overnight.”

&#8220It is so important to get the country secured first,” he said.

&#8220It's just going to take time.”

While in Iraq, Brown kept in touch with his family through emails and sometimes by phone calls.

&#8220Getting mail and care packages over there was wonderful,” he said, chuckling. &#8220Every soldier loves mail.”

Brown's family includes his wife, Jennifer; two brothers, Doug Brown of Highland Home, and Mike Brown of Millbrook; six sisters, Ruby Davis of Millbrook, Lacy Kelley of Highland Home, Annette Stephenson of Luverne, Katie Arthur of Highland Home, Linda Myrick of Greenville, and the late Sue Reynolds of Ramer. His parents are the late Mr. and Mrs. Bud Brown of Highland Home.

Sgt. Brown is a 1983 graduate of Highland Home High School.

&#8220I want to personally thank all of my family, friends and the churches for their support this past year,” he said. &#8220I didn't know I was surrounded by so many good people. You may have sent a letter, said a prayer or even fixed the kitchen sink. You don't know how much all of these things have meant to me.”