Welcome Homecoming: Local soldier returns from Iraq for the holidays

NOTE: Front page story

By Brenda Maguire
For Journal Register News Service

The song says, “There’s no place like home for the holidays,” and this year nobody knows that more than SPC Ricky Geiger, whose deployment in Iraq ended on November 30, just in time to head to, “Pennsylvania for some homemade pumpkin pie.”

“It’s relaxing. It’s nice to just sit down and not be told what to do,” Geiger said, adding, “I can relax and be me and enjoy the time with my wife and my friends.”

“It’s very fortunate because originally he wasn’t supposed to be home until the end of January,” Richard Geiger, Ricky’s father, said.

Geiger, 22, will be home in Geigertown for two weeks over the holidays before returning to Fort Hood in Texas to continue his service in the U.S. Army.

After graduating from Twin Valley High School, where he played baseball and football, Geiger attended Reading Area Community College for two years and focused on baseball.

“My first goal was to play baseball,” explained Geiger, who attended minor league baseball tryouts during his time in college.

When baseball didn’t work out, he decided to follow in the footsteps of many family members and join the armed forces.

“It just became something I wanted to do,” he said.

Geiger left for basic training in April 2010 and was there for over four months. He spent ten months stationed in Fort Hood before being deployed to Iraq in May.

He was stationed at COB Speicher, a U.S. Army Contingency Operating Base, in Tikrit, Iraq.

“We were an advise and assist brigade,” Geiger said.

Geiger’s group was charged with ensuring other groups could successfully travel to Kuwait.

“It was depressing,” Geiger said. “All it was was miles and miles of dirt.

“A heck of a lot different than here.”

Geiger added that where he was stationed was a much more laid back area and was less hostile.

Additionally, the group was occasionally charged with locating, “high-value individuals,” or the most wanted people.

“We would go into a certain village and meet up with Iraqi police and go into villages to get more information and find these individuals,” Geiger said.

These “high-value individuals” were often ones who were organizing random attacks against U.S. soldiers.

Geiger expressed that he’s relieved that the war in Iraq has ended.

“It feels good,” he said. “It’s a breath of fresh air to know I won’t be going back.”

Geiger believes his next deployment will be to Afghanistan, but for now he plans on enjoying the holidays at home with his wife, family and friends.

“It’s was very exciting getting all the wives together for the homecoming,” said Janice Geiger, Ricky’s wife, who also graduated from Twin Valley High School. She noted that it was difficult to communicate with him while he was in Iraq because the Internet would always go down.

“We’re very happy now that he’s home,” she added.

Last Monday, Caernarvon Police and the Geigertown Fire Department greeted Geiger in Philadelphia for a special escort to his home in Geigertown, where over 30 family members and friends were waiting to see him.

The family also hosted a party for over 50 last Wednesday to celebrate Geiger’s homecoming.

Richard and D’Lury Geiger are the definition of proud parents.

“We’re excited that he’s serving the country but we’re excited that he’s home,” Richard Geiger said.

“And safe,” D’Lury Geiger quickly added. She continued, “We’re very blessed to have him here.”

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