The family of Staff Sgt. R.J. Bartie of Lake Charles is celebrating not only the first birthday of his youngest son, but also his return from a third tour of duty in Iraq. He arrived last week at Lake Charles Regional with plenty of Army experience under his belt.
"The first one was pretty much unexpected," said Bartie. "I didn't know what to look for. I didn't know what to expect. We prepared the best way we could. We always left room for things that would come up unexpectedly."
The 9 and a half year Army veteran says the hardest thing about serving overseas is being separated from your family.
"The hardest thing about a spouse and dependents is when the soldiers are deployed. They don't know what to think. They see on the news and they think every soldier does what's on the news. I try not to let them know a lot of things that's going on if I can."
And he thanks God for protecting himself and his unit.
"He has definitely kept not only myself but my soldiers, my unit, even though we've lost some people in this tour so far, it's definitely God that's been there orchestrating everything that's going on. I have to say that God has protected myself and my soldiers."
R.J. Bartie, this week's KPLC Billy Navarre Hometown Patriot.