Best day of the war: coming home - Brooklyn service men and women return from fighting in Iraq

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Sgt. Janine Negron clutched her son Jimmy Negron Jr., 2, in her arms and then looked him over from head to toe.

“The first thing I’m going to do is spend time with my son,” she said proudly. “It’s the first I’ve seen him for a year.

Negron was one of 130 members of the Brooklyn-based 133rd Quartermaster Company of the New York Armory National Guard that returned home week after a year deployment in Iraq.

The company mainly provided shelter and food for the troops in Iraq, and often found themselves in harm’s way working in often-targeted convoys. All the soldiers returned safely.

Negron, 27, born and raised in Williamsburg, said the deployment wasn’t bad, but refused to elaborate on what exactly her duty entailed, saying only that what happened in Iraq stays in Iraq.

Negron said joining the military was a family tradition. She has family in the Navy, Marines, Air Force and Army, including her husband, Jimmy Negron Sr., who is getting ready to ship out to Afghanistan with the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division.

“I’m a lifer,” she said. “I’m very proud to represent my country.”

Negron said after she spends some time with her son, she plans to go to BBQ’s in Times Square to eat some ribs and rice.

For Sgt. Clarence Roberts, 31, of Canarsie, it was his second deployment to the country.

“I was in Camp Hit. They called it hit because it got hit all the time,” said Roberts.

Roberts said his unit was in charge of ensuring petroleum products were getting through to where they were supposed to be.

Roberts joined the Army straight out of college, and after active duty went into the state National Guard.

“I haven’t had an opportunity to find any work. My whole career so far has been in the Army,” said Roberts, adding he’s not worried about being deployed to Afghanistan.

“It’s my job and I know what the Army’s about. For younger guys it’s harder, but this was my second deployment to Iraq,” he said.

For Spec. Ryan Lombardi of Sheepshead Bay, the deployment was his last as he is leaving the National Guard after six years.

“Iraq is not a place I want to be.  I did my job,” said Lombardi, 23, a Sheepshead Bay High School graduate.

“The military gave me a lot of things and helped me out,” he said, adding his father was in the Army and his brother also did a tour in Iraq.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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