Welcome home, Sgt. 1st Class Holland

Published 11:08 pm Monday, March 18, 2013

Sgt. 1st Class Ed Holland is back at home in the United States.

Some folks in Suffolk will recognize the name of the 1989 Suffolk High School graduate. Regular readers of this page will recognize Holland as a weekly columnist for the Suffolk News-Herald during the past few months. Sgt. 1st Class Holland has shared thoughts from Afghanistan, where he spent his sixth deployment with the U.S. Army. It was his first posting to that nation; five previous postings were in Iraq.

As the sergeant in charge of security and protection at Forward Operating Base Lightning, Holland found himself right in the middle of some of the most dangerous situations America’s fighting men and women face overseas today. Long days and nights of missing family members and settling into the routine of the briefings, patrols and training of a long deployment were broken up by the adrenaline rush of discovering and disabling improvised explosive devices, suicide bombers and vehicle-borne IEDs.

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Now Holland and members of his unit have the safer, but possibly more daunting challenge of re-integrating themselves into their families and into the first-world society they went to Afghanistan to protect. It’s a task they prayed for and looked forward to each day for the long months they spent in harm’s way in a nation where they literally could never let their guard down.

We have enjoyed the kinship we felt with Sgt. 1st Class Holland through his regular dispatches from Afghanistan. But we take even greater satisfaction in the knowledge that he is home safe, planning a visit soon to his hometown and the family that worried about him every day of his deployment.

SFC Holland honored us by sharing his experiences with us while in Afghanistan and by his candid portrayal of the personal hopes and fears members of America’s military face every day they serve in the middle of a war zone. We can only honor him and the others serving overseas by giving them our deepest gratitude for their selfless service.

We’re glad to have you back at home, Sgt. 1st Class Holland. Thank you for all you’ve done.