Soldiers Home

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All this month we've been bringing you stories about our local men and women who've returned home from the war in Iraq. Monday we bring you the story of a soldier and his family who are still going through a readjustment period. They're changes the family never expected.

A lot can change in a year. Though at first, all families can focus on is a soldier’s absence. Once back from Iraq, Sgt. Greg Swindle and his wife Mary recognized some big changes, both in themselves and in their family dynamic.

"I have had times when I felt a very heavy vibration or heard a distant boom or something like that, and for a split second I'm questioning whether I need to be on the floor or not," says Sgt. Greg Swindle, a returning Guardsman.

"I'm a good supporter but I don't take on leadership, but in the last year, I've had to be the leader in our home. I've had to be the mom and the dad," adds wife Mary Swindle.

Greg Swindle says, "I find that I'm more aggressive. Now, I tend to be more outgoing. Things that may have hampered me in the past, maybe things that I was uncomfortable with, I no longer allow them to keep me from doing what I want to do or feel I need to do."

Mary's new role and a Greg's new outlook do clash sometimes, especially when it comes to their teenage daughters' new sense of independence and more vocal opinions.

Mary Swindle says, "And that has been a little difficult for him to swallow because where he was coming from, from the past year, you're told one time to do something and you do it or it can be life or death."

But the swindles say they will adjust. Both say they have hope in their faith, their family, and the bond that made them a family in the first place.

When he's not serving in the National Guard's 3rd Battalion 124th Infantry Unit out of Panama City, swindle is a minister. He serves as assistant chaplain within his National Guard unit.