Member of 155th thrilled to be on homefront

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 30, 2005

It&8217;s been three days since Spc. Londell Grayson got off the bus in Camp Shelby and greeted his wife &8212; and he&8217;s still smiling ear to ear.

&8220;It feels great to be home. It&8217;s a real blessing,&8221; he said.

His family feels the same way.

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Briana, 11, said having her father home was all she wanted for Christmas, even if things are now a bit more strict.

&8220;He gets on us about cleaning up the house a lot,&8221; she said with a smile.

Londell is one of 40-plus Miss-Lou residents who were sent to Iraq in summer 2004 as part of the 155th Infantry of the Mississippi Army National Guard.

Briana&8217;s youngest sister, Kasaundra, is almost two and hasn&8217;t her father out of her sight since his return. &8220;Every step I take, she follows me,&8221; he said.

Lakisha, 8, is thrilled to have her dad home and Jacob, 5, can&8217;t wait to go shoot birds with him.

They&8217;ll have to wait just a few days more before the real playtime begins, though.

Their dad was due to ship again Monday night, but this time it&8217;s only for a four-day trip to Camp Shelby to finish the demobilization process.

While not thrilled about it, his wife Glenda said she&8217;d be OK.

&8220;I can handle anything now that he&8217;s back and staying,&8221; she said.

Once he returns, Londell said he plans to take the next several weeks off before resuming his construction business.

Whenever he&8217;s ready, there will be plenty for him to do.

&8220;I&8217;ve got 20 jobs lined up already,&8221; he said.

First thing&8217;s first, though. Londell plans to finally put the finishing touches on the family home, which he was almost finished before being called away to duty.

It will take some time to readjust to life at home, Londell, 34, said he woke up in the middle of his first night back and couldn&8217;t go back to sleep.

He said he was getting used to sleeping in peace, a feeling Glenda Grayson understands.

&8220;When he was gone, I slept with all the kids in my bed and the door shut tight,&8221; she said. &8220;Now that he&8217;s back, all the kids are back in their rooms and the door is open.

&8220;I don&8217;t have to listen for the phone ringing. I don&8217;t have to be scared.&8221;

Safely back in Natchez, Londell Grayson said he looked forward to keeping in touch with his friends from the 155th, all of whom he claimed were more worthy of being interviewed than he.

He didn&8217;t want to talk too much about the dangers of patrolling the roads in a Humvee, but he said his tour in Iraq changed his perspective on the war, and not in the way you might think.

&8220;So many people were downing Bush, and I was one of them,&8221; he said. &8220;(But) I got over there and saw how the kids are suffering and I know we&8217;re doing the right thing.&8221;

Grayson said he saw improvement in the situation over the course of his tour and he&8217;s proud to have served.

&8220;I&8217;m glad I went over. I can look back and say I was one of the guys who made a difference.&8221;

Grayson and the rest of the local members of the 155th will be honored with a parade and celebration Jan. 21.