Soldier returns in time to celebrate 4th of 7/

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Soldier returns in time to celebrate 4th of July

By John Howell

A family on Bruce Street had an especially festive Fourth of July celebration last weekend when their husband and father returned home from Afghanistan duty on Thursday.

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Sergeant Corey Renfrow was among about 150 Mississippi Army National Guard soldiers from the 858th Horizontal Engineers, based in Calhoun City, whose plane landed at the Tupelo airport about 5 a.m. 

By Thursday afternoon, Renfrow and his wife Tashyanna and their two boys had arrived at their Batesville home where he found his driveway lined with red, white and blue balloons, bunting and a brightly-colored poster proclaiming: “Our Hero Is Home!”

By Thursday evening, the house had filled with Renfrow kin.

It was Renfrow’s second deployment with the engineering unit. In 2009-2010, they were in Iraq. This time he had been away from home for 11 months, most of his 16-month-old son Cooper’s life.

“Facetime and Skype really got us through,” Renfrow said.

Batesville has been home to the Renfrow family since Feb., 2012. He is from the Lena-Flowood area near Jackson; his wife, Tashyanna, is from Calhoun City. He is a night shift warehouse manager at Performance Food Group. She has been a mom-at-home since their transfer to Batesville when, Cooper, now age three, was an infant.

“He told me last night that he didn’t see how I did it,” Tashyanna said, quoting her husband after several days back in the family setting.

Renfrow said that the engineering unit operated heavy machinery to tear down and disassemble facilities the U.S. built around Bagram Air Force Base, preparing to turn the base over to the Afghanis. They also trained the Afghan military.

The Batesville soldier said that his platoon was also sent for similar work at Forward Operating Base Shank in nearby Logar Province.

“I’m just glad to be back and see everybody,” he said.