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Author: SuaSponteMark Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 37587  
Subject: My deployment to Iraq Date: 4/29/2003 4:45 PM
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Greetings all,

I've been deployed a bit short of two months, returning home about a day and a half ago. It's very nice to be back stateside. Some of what we did, due to the nature of Special Operations, remains classified - what follows is what is releaseable.

Elements of my unit, the 1st Ranger Battalion operated throughout Iraq in an unprecedented fashion, from the remote Western Desert to Nasiriyah in the South, to the center of Baghdad, and finally, to the north to Tikrit, the ancestral home of Saddam Hussein and the base of power of his regime. During all operations, Rangers have acquitted themselves with honor, completing every mission and truly adding laurels to the Regiment's already distinguished history.

Shortly after our arrival and the initiation of hostilities, A Co moved 100 miles into Iraq to seize a remote desert landing strip (DLS) to further enable Special Forces teams to operate in this critical region. They conducted a follow on mission to seize a nearby key village and airfield, facilitating our operations further. The weather was atrocious; they conducted these operations despite enduring a two day Shamal, or sandstorm. Visibility was that of a thick fogbank, with winds upwards of 50 MPH and blinding, biting sand. Despite the difficulties, the Rangers were able to destroy Iraqi Air Defense systems and command and control nodes targeting our coalition aircraft.

C Co arrived along with elements of Headquarters shortly thereafter to defend this landing strip and village. Shortly after, the Battalion was ordered to participate in Operation Restore Freedom, the POW rescue mission of Private First Class Jessica Lynch. This was a tremendously successful mission, as within three days of notification, the Battalion returned from the DLS they seized, moved to Talil Airfield near the rescue site to prepare for the mission, and executed it on the night of 01 April. The intelligence we received from our assets as well as Marine Force Recon, other Marine assets, and various ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaisance) assets. We conducted the operation with other Special Operations Forces and support from elements of the 2d Regimental Combat Team (Task Force Tarawa of the Marines) and elements from the 16th Marine Air Group. These are organizations that we had never met until this mission, but due to everyone's professionalism and high levels of performance we integrated an operation that included elements of every service to rescue PFC Lynch and recover the remains of 9 US service members. We went into the city well forward of any Marine positions, and prior to the rescue the Marines faced stiff resistance from within the city just to get to their current positions. They were still under constant enemy fire prior to our execution. Our intensive training and specially selected personnel enabled us to adapt rapidly to execute complex, sensitive missions like this under extreme stress. We own the night - no enemy can touch our night fighting skills. This was the first POW rescue Ranger forces have conducted since WWII - there is a fantastic account of the rescue of POWs from a Japanese camp in the book Ghost Soldiers, which I recommend.

The city of Nasiriyah has a population of one million. However, any similarity between it and any large city in America ended with that size. The stench was incredible; sanitation seemed largely nonexistent and the streets were lined with ditches that ran freely with human waste. The hospital where PFC Lynch was held poured off their waste into an adjacent field that was essentially an enormous cess pool. Medical waste was left out in the open. The Rangers that drew the mission to recover the remains - a task we had not templated but executed when we learned of their location - truly accounted for themselves in an incredible fashion. They dug the remains out often with their hands, as we had few shovels. One man would be digging and when the stench caused them to become sick, they would trade out with the next man. None objected and though many got sick, they worked furiously to get them all out before light. The returning of the remains is a critical task, unsavory as it may be. It is essential for families to have closure for their missing loved ones, and we were able to aid in this.

As the main ground offensive closed on Baghdad, C Co and elements of HHC were repositioned deep in Iraq to prepare for operations designed to cut off the escape routes of regime members fleeing out of Baghdad and other strongholds. A Co and the remainder of the Battalion followed shortly, with B Co being attached for missions in Baghdad with 2nd Battalion. Shortly after their arrival, A Co moved 80 miles further into Iraqi territory and seized an Iraqi Army training facility only 30 miles from Tikrit. They served as a force that would block the regime's final escape route as they were flushed by the encroaching conventional forces moving north from Baghdad.

Following A Co were elements of the Battalion headquarters, C Co, other Special Operations forces, and a tank company - C/2/70th Armor from the 1st Armored Division. They completed a long motor march, unprecedented for our forces, and linked up with A Co. They followed with interdiction missions along the critical routes. These attackes were successful, but not without a cost. One airman attached to our battalion lost his life

Meanwhile in Baghdad, B Co moved into Baghdad International Airport as part of the 2nd Battalion Task Force and conducted missions searching for regime leadership and weapons of mass destruction (WMD). They participated in operations that captured a number of key regime figures to include an international terrorist who was seeking refuge from the international community in Baghdad - Abu Abbas - who in 1985 masterminded the capture of the Achille Lauro, an Italian cruise ship. Terrorists killed wheelchair-bound Leon Klinghoffer and dumped him overboard before the seige was over.

We continue to stand ready for whatever our leadership asks us to do, and I'm immensely proud of our Rangers. The profound maturity and skill that these men display makes them truly the highest quality infantry in the world, and I'm inspired by them daily. Their ability to conduct sustained combat operations in harsh conditions with absolutely zero contact with their friends and family is beyond description. During this time they had no email, phones, snail mail, and their loved ones had no idea how long they would be gone. Despite all of this, they lived up to the standards embodied in the Ranger Creed and again validated our motto...Rangers Lead The Way!

Mark
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Author: fredinseoul Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 16062 of 37587
Subject: Re: My deployment to Iraq Date: 4/29/2003 4:49 PM
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Welcome back.

Good job.

fredinseoul

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Author: Tuni Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 16063 of 37587
Subject: Re: My deployment to Iraq Date: 4/29/2003 4:58 PM
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We are so glad you are home safely. We thank you for all you have done for us and your country. People like you are much appreciated....

tuni

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Author: SirYoda Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 16064 of 37587
Subject: Re: My deployment to Iraq Date: 4/29/2003 5:42 PM
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Welcome home, Mark! Great post of your exploits in the desert. I'd suspect the most important thing you did, vis a vis the families back here, was the recovery of remains.

Great job! Hope you get some "down time" over the next few weeks!

With Respect,

Yoda

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Author: RMCM Two stars, 250 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 16066 of 37587
Subject: Re: My deployment to Iraq Date: 4/29/2003 7:01 PM
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Mark, that was awesome!

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Author: DoctorBombay Big gold star, 5000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 16071 of 37587
Subject: Re: My deployment to Iraq Date: 4/29/2003 10:05 PM
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Well done Ranger.



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Author: SeattlePioneer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 16075 of 37587
Subject: Re: My deployment to Iraq Date: 4/29/2003 11:26 PM
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<<. The Rangers that drew the mission to recover the remains - a task we had not templated but executed when we learned of their location - truly accounted for themselves in an incredible fashion. They dug the remains out often with their hands, as we had few shovels. One man would be digging and when the stench caused them to become sick, they would trade out with the next man. None objected and though many got sick, they worked furiously to get them all out before light. The returning of the remains is a critical task, unsavory as it may be. It is essential for families to have closure for their missing loved ones, and we were able to aid in this.
>>


Congratulations on the success of the rangers, and thanks for your account of the war in Iraq. Thanks for your efforts on behalf of the people of the United States, and Iraq.


<<. The Rangers that drew the mission to recover the remains - a task we had not templated but executed when we learned of their location - truly accounted for themselves in an incredible fashion. They dug the remains out often with their hands, as we had few shovels. One man would be digging and when the stench caused them to become sick, they would trade out with the next man. None objected and though many got sick, they worked furiously to get them all out before light. The returning of the remains is a critical task, unsavory as it may be. It is essential for families to have closure for their missing loved ones, and we were able to aid in this.
>>


Not to nitpick, but I do wonder whether it was worthwhile to risk the safety of our forces in order to recover the remains of those already dead and buried. The area was going to be overrun by coalition forces anyway, after which these honored dead could have been recovered with no risk. So I remain somewhat perplexed at that decision.




Seattle Pioneer

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Author: prometheuss Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 16076 of 37587
Subject: Re: My deployment to Iraq Date: 4/29/2003 11:50 PM
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Not to nitpick, but I do wonder whether it was worthwhile to risk the safety of our forces in order to recover the remains of those already dead and buried. The area was going to be overrun by coalition forces anyway, after which these honored dead could have been recovered with no risk. So I remain somewhat perplexed at that decision.

Seattle Pioneer

--------------------------------

This is a ethos that we hold dear and it is not something that most of us consider subject to debate.

With Due Respect,
Prometheuss


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Author: SirYoda Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 16078 of 37587
Subject: Re: My deployment to Iraq Date: 4/30/2003 12:12 AM
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This is a ethos that we hold dear and it is not something that most of us consider subject to debate.

With Due Respect,
Prometheuss

--------------------------

I was going to reply to SP with long words about the sanctity of recovering our dead & wounded, and go on about how "nobody gets left behind."

But, I see Prometheuss did it so much better in just a single sentence.

Case closed.

Yoda

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Author: SuaSponteMark Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 16079 of 37587
Subject: Re: My deployment to Iraq Date: 4/30/2003 12:28 AM
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Seattle - there are political ramifications to anything we do 'behind enemy lines'...as in "We're in your backyard, getting our dead, and there is nothing you can do about it." More importantly, we leave no man behind, dead or alive. No Ranger has ever been abandoned in combat, and we treat others the same.

Mark

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Author: sykesix Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 16080 of 37587
Subject: Re: My deployment to Iraq Date: 4/30/2003 1:09 AM
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Good to see you are back Mark. Your absence was noted, and on several different boards there were posts wondering if you might be in Iraq, and if you were, concerned with your safety. I just mention this so you know that you and all the soldiers were in our thoughts, even if you didn't know it at the time.

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Author: hooeydooey Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 16081 of 37587
Subject: Re: My deployment to Iraq Date: 4/30/2003 3:22 AM
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Mark,

Welcome home! Thank you for a job well done. So glad that you returned home safely. Please know that your efforts are very much appreciated by all of us.

Susan

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Author: johnmoni Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 16082 of 37587
Subject: Re: My deployment to Iraq Date: 4/30/2003 8:05 AM
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HOOOOOOOOOOO AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Well done soldier! Anytime some wise ass on these boards decides to start discussing the value of our Armed Forces, they should read your post - or talk to the families of those fallen comrades that you brought home. God bless our military!!
johnmoni

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Author: CaveGirl Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 16083 of 37587
Subject: Re: My deployment to Iraq Date: 4/30/2003 8:07 AM
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Welcome back!


CaveGirl


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Author: Rizzo21 Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 16084 of 37587
Subject: Re: My deployment to Iraq Date: 4/30/2003 1:24 PM
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You were all great! The job you did over there was unbelievable and I am one proud American because of those efforts. I am embarrassed to sit at a desk for a living knowing that my comfort and freedom is won by people like you who risk their lives and endure many times the discomfort I do. Any part I can do for my country is 1/100 what our great armed forces have done. Way to go!!!

By the way, I read Ghost Soldiers and it IS one of the best reads ever!

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Author: jiml8 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 16085 of 37587
Subject: Re: My deployment to Iraq Date: 4/30/2003 5:33 PM
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Welcome home, soldier. And congrats on an outstanding job.

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Author: jiml8 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 16086 of 37587
Subject: Re: My deployment to Iraq Date: 4/30/2003 5:35 PM
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Not to nitpick, but I do wonder whether it was worthwhile to risk the safety of our forces in order to recover the remains of those already dead and buried. The area was going to be overrun by coalition forces anyway, after which these honored dead could have been recovered with no risk. So I remain somewhat perplexed at that decision.

No one gets left behind. At least, they shouldn't be left behind...

http://www.wtv-zone.com/kjsb/gulf_mia.html

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Author: omadhaun Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 16087 of 37587
Subject: Re: My deployment to Iraq Date: 4/30/2003 10:42 PM
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Ask those that put themselves in harms way.

I would be stunned if you had so much as 1 person agreeing with you .

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Author: RedRaider04 Two stars, 250 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 16088 of 37587
Subject: Re: My deployment to Iraq Date: 5/1/2003 12:21 AM
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Thank you for protecting our freedoms! Welcome back! Glad you made it home safe! Once again, Thank you.

With Deepest Thanks and Respect,
Neal

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Author: iseek2 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 16090 of 37587
Subject: Re: My deployment to Iraq Date: 5/1/2003 10:35 AM
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mark,
thanks for all you guys have done and i'm glad to hear your back safe and sound, now it's time for some r&r. for those of you who think that it's not a good IDEA to go back and get those left behind, shame on you. my brother and many other family members and friends are still over there fighting for for us and if god forbid something happend and they left any of them i would be very upset to out it nicely. they have motos' for a reason and you never leave anyone behind dead or alive, it's what they live by and for those who don't get it try talking to some military personel and maybe you'll get a better understanding. o by the way this is not b talking this is jen and again thanks for all you did and i'm glad you made it home safe and sound.
with honor and love
jen

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Author: rigoletto39 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 16091 of 37587
Subject: Re: My deployment to Iraq Date: 5/1/2003 3:05 PM
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The area was going to be overrun by coalition forces anyway, after which these honored dead could have been recovered with no risk. So I remain somewhat perplexed at that decision.

Others will no doubt respond. This is something that soldiers do. Leave no-one behind. It's right near the top of the Code of Honor. Maybe only those who have lived and fought as a team can understand.

It's part of a code that's related to the commander being "last off the field", something that goes way back in military history.


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Author: knight427 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 16092 of 37587
Subject: Re: My deployment to Iraq Date: 5/1/2003 3:06 PM
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I think SP is taking a little more flack than he deserves here. He never stated that you should leave men behind. He was making a point that in this particular situation, it was very likely that the retrieval of the bodies could have been done after that area had come under coalition control, thus reducing the risk to the brave soldiers who rescued Jessica Lynch. I understand the never leave a man behind philosophy and why it is important to the families and soldiers (my brother jumped into N. Iraq with the 173rd and was involved with a KIA recovery). I also understand that there was no guarantee that the bodies could have been recovered later for a large number of reasons. I agree on these points and think they are valid responses to SP. However, I don't think it warranted a “shame on you” and other harsh retorts.

knight427


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Author: CCSand Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 16102 of 37587
Subject: Re: My deployment to Iraq Date: 5/2/2003 12:28 AM
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rigoletto39 wrote:

Others will no doubt respond. This is something that soldiers do. Leave no-one behind. It's right near the top of the Code of Honor. Maybe only those who have lived and fought as a team can understand.

I think it's more than that.

How likely are you to take risks if you know that you might be captured or killed and your "buddies" will leave you if they can't get to you?

I think you're far more likely to take risks if you know that your buddies are going to come after you if you get into trouble.

Yes, it's teamwork. It's the kind of team that always fights to its fullest.

CCSand

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Author: Julybug Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 16129 of 37587
Subject: Re: My deployment to Iraq Date: 5/3/2003 3:44 PM
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Hi all - this is my first post on the Fool, but I had to reply. Mark is my big brother and I can't begin to express how relieved we are to have him home again. Your sentiments of concern and support mean so much to my family. I could not be prouder of the work he does and what he and his men accomplished in Iraq.

If anything had happened to him over there, I would have been devastated, but the idea that his fellow soldiers would not let him go forgotten in the ground of a foreign land offers some comfort. I imagine it is the same for anyone who has family involved in this conflict. Being told to wait until it was "safer" to recover remains is not acceptable when it is someone you love that is lost overseas.

Julie

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Author: filcro Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 16219 of 37587
Subject: Re: My deployment to Iraq Date: 5/14/2003 12:16 AM
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Mark

All of us at DISA know what a great job everyone has done.

The road is long... save your water ;)

FILCRO

America First

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Author: CCSand Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 16255 of 37587
Subject: Re: My deployment to Iraq Date: 5/18/2003 7:56 AM
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I can hardly believe it, but there are apparently stories circulating in the British press to the effect that Private Jessica Lynch didn't need to be rescued.

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=19061790

My response:

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=19061885

Mark, I just thought you should know.

CCSand

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Author: CCSand Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 16258 of 37587
Subject: Re: My deployment to Iraq Date: 5/18/2003 10:58 PM
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I wrote to SuaSponteMark:

Mark, I just thought you should know.

Thanks, Mark. Way to go!

CCSand

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Author: bosslady52 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 16296 of 37587
Subject: Re: My deployment to Iraq Date: 5/22/2003 2:15 PM
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Better late than never...welcome home and job well done!!

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