A Soldier’s Story: Welcome Home Sgt. Leroy Osborn

The healing has started here in Louisiana, but the storms we endured, and the after effects do not tell the whole story. Houma has the honor to welcome a new resident that is of the finest cloth. He lost his home to hurricane Katrina, and has relocated to our town – Houma. I welcome him with open arms. The unit he is assigned to, is out of Houma, and they were in Iraq during Katrina. The Unit suffered six members killed at the same time by a roadside bomb. Six people from our own area. The unit had to endure losses to their fellow soldiers, and then some lost their homes to the storm. Houma and The Democratic Daily salutes these Citizen soldiers and their bravery.

Sgt. Leroy Osborn called New Orleans home for nearly his entire life.

He left the Crescent City last fall, when he and the 200 or so other members of the Houma-based Charlie Company were deployed for a year-long stint in Iraq.

The Black Sheep, a mechanized unit of the Army National Guard’s 256th Infantry Brigade, came home in waves starting in September. They flew into Alexandria in groups that quietly made their way home in between hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

No big fanfare accompanied their homecoming, in part because of the hurricane that devastated New Orleans and surrounding cities and in part because they came back without six of their members, all killed during a Jan. 6 bombing

Sgt. Osborn came back to destruction, but he has an upbeat outlook on things. He looks at what he has, and not what he lost. A far cry from the leadership that leads our country in this unfair war in Iraq.

While preparing to leave the Middle East for bayou country, the 31-year-old Osborn wasn’t sure what he was coming back to. He heard bits and pieces about Hurricane Katrina, which made landfall along Mississippi and Louisiana state line Aug. 29.

He knew that his mother, who he shared a home with, had evacuated and was safe. And he knew that the two of them would go together to see if the catastrophic storm had spared the house where they had lived for the past decade.

But Osborn said he wasn’t prepared for the sight that greeted him when they pulled up outside the Gretna house.

“I took a look around and you see this big old tree ripped from the ground,” he said. “It was a big shock.”

The house was ruined. Many of their personal belongings were damaged.

Months after the storm, Osborn and his mother, Susitina Osborn, still aren’t sure what will become of their hurricane-damaged home.

They did manage to salvage some of their things, which they moved to a west-Houma duplex a week after Hurricane Rita hit Louisiana.

“We wanted it to all be done in a day,” Osborn said, recalling the mammoth move from the West Bank to Terrebonne Parish. “It took six or seven trips from Houma to New Orleans to get it done.”

Osborn said their timing was lucky because within a week the house, which had extensive water damage, collapsed. Since then, he hasn’t been back to see what remains of the single-story house he once called home.

While the loss of a house is a sad and difficult situation for anyone to face, Osborn takes a different tact. He focuses on what he has, not what he lost.

“Those are just things,” he said. “Losing the memories, that would have been horrible.”

Susitina Osborn said she plans to return to New Orleans one day, but Osborn says he’ll stay here.

And, for the citizen-soldier who spent a year in the sands of Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, losing a home isn’t the only adjustment he’s had to make.

Osborn has also tried to adapt to the change from military to civilian life.

During his tour of duty with Charlie Company, Osborn moved up the ranks. He started as a gunner on a Bradley fighting vehicle. He was promoted to the Bradley’s commander to replace another soldier who was shot to death during a mission.

Osborn said working as a gunner was often boring, a state that can lead to inattention and vulnerability. Once he became the commander, he said he made staying alert his number one priority.

“They say out there complacency is our greatest enemy,” he said. “I had to stay focused.”

Now that he’s safely back home, Osborn says he constantly reminds himself that he doesn’t have to look over his shoulder constantly as he goes through his day-to-day routine at the National Guard Armory.

Much like when he was in Iraq, Osborn is in charge of a crew of soldiers. In Houma, however, he’s overseeing the tasks that need to be completed here, tasks that include hurricane-relief missions throughout the state.

Our soldiers are so brave, yet they have a sorry commander in chief. We have to remember our troops, but at the same time, we have to remember that the leaders have forgotten that these are human and caring people of the highest order. Our state has given so much, and what we have received from Uncle Sam, is a slap in the face.

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9 Responses to A Soldier’s Story: Welcome Home Sgt. Leroy Osborn

  1. This is a related story about the Black Sheep.

    Two citizen-soldiers adjust to life at home

    Spc. Casey Carroll lost part of a finger.

    Cpl. Rusten May was showered with shrapnel.

    Both south Louisiana residents received Purple Hearts for their injuries, and both are modest about their war efforts.

    They focus instead on the sacrifices made by their fellow soldiers, including the six who were killed while in Iraq, and their families
    http://houmatoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051227/NEWS/512270306/1026/NEWS01

  2. florida dem says:

    Did anyone see this? Newsweek is actually giving Kos major ink. They have him handicapping 2006 elections. Give me a break! Did anyone at Newsweek bother to fact check to learn that Kos has rarely, if ever, been right about anything? Why are they asking him again? And is he really the left’s favorite blog, and is this based on hits, visitor sessions or just Kos making sh-t up?

    Here’s a tip. Make sure you have a bottle of Pepto when you read this crap. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10629288/site/newsweek/

    Kos-Eye View
    The creator of the left’s favorite political blog, The Daily Kos, handicaps the 2006 elections and shares his advice for the Democratic Party.

  3. To hell with Kos!! He is not what I consider to be the voice of me or the rest of the party. He is nothing more than a biased jackass!! What a fool!! Some of the writers on the blog are OK, but Kos is a wart on the A** of society!!

  4. Indie Liberal says:

    Thanks FD, I only visit there when they post Pro-Kerry diaries. However, I didn’t appreciate them dissing Obama after he wrote a diary there. I think Dems and the Dem leadership need to distance themselves from there. They do more harm than good.

    Wow Donnie, you’re sound like you are hot. 🙂

  5. Ron Chusid says:

    Florida Dem,

    It’s in the web-only edition, so they aren’t giving Kos “major ink.”

    Major electrons? Major pixels? What would be the web analogy?

  6. LOL Indie,

    Hot may begin to describe how I feel about it. All the Anti-Kerry Rhetoric and one sided views there are really starting to enrage me. There is no room for the inner party bashing like Kos and Dingbat Huffington pass off as knowledge. I say it’s pinata time!! Time to fight back and let these posers know that it’s past time to get our act together!

  7. Besides, do we believe in Kos or do we believe in the truth? Kos has my eye on him. Kos watch? You betcha bottom doller Ole frien’

  8. Elias says:

    Excellent discussion.

  9. Luminox says:

    Good day I found your blogg when doing a search, not what I was after but hello anyway 🙂