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Soldier injured in Iraq glad to be home

Associated Press

SLEEPY EYE, Minn. — A Minnesota National Guard soldier home on leave is hoping he’s seen the last of Iraq.

B.J. Sprenger was severely burned on his arms, legs, face and lungs on March 19 by a bomb blast while he was patrolling in a Humvee. He was honored this week with a motorcade through town.

Sprenger came home for 30 days’ leave after spending several weeks at an Army hospital in Texas. He underwent several skin grafts.

Sprenger’s enlistment doesn’t expire until early next year, but he said he expects a medical disability discharge. His remaining active duty service could be spent at a desk job in a National Guard armory in New Ulm or St. James.

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After that, he plans to return to his civilian job. He worked as an assembly technician at Force America in Burnsville before he was activated.

"My employer keeps in contact with me and says my job is waiting for me," Sprenger said.

Sprenger said he hears often from buddies in the 125th Field Artillery Unit. He put off getting his Purple Heart so he could receive it with them.

"Last we heard, they could be back by the end of July," Sprenger said. "They’ve been calling me. They’re starting to pack up and are excited to come home."

Sprenger said he’s enjoying the green grass of home.

"I can get in my car and drive someplace whenever I want to on smooth roads," he said.

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