By Casey Nolen
IMPERIAL, Mo. (KSDK) - For the first time in close to a year, families around the St. Louis area and across Missouri are getting reacquainted with their sons, husbands and fathers.
Eighty-seven Missouri National Guard Soldiers are just back from Afghanistan where they performed some of the most dangerous work in the war zone.
James McClarney, of Imperial, is a sergeant with the 1138th Engineering Company. This deployment was his third, starting when he served in the Army during Desert Storm.
On its latest mission the 1138th was charged with clearing road side bombs in one of the most dangerous parts of Afghanistan to give safe passage to other troops.
"This was the worst," said McClarney's wife Jolynn of his most recent deployment, "because I knew the extent of what he was doing."
When McClarney was deployed the first time his first daughter was born. On this deployment his first granddaughter was born. The 44-year-old federal employee with a family history of service with the Army that can be traced back to the Revolutionary War says this tour was likely his last.
"It's just my little way of giving back," said Sgt. McClarney of his service.
A few soldiers in the platoon suffered concussions when their vehicles were hit by improvised explosive devices. And one was injured when he stepped on an IED. But all that deployed, returned home alive.