An Army soldier from southern Iowa who was part of the unit that captured Saddam Hussein last year is home on leave and has gotten a hero’s welcome. 23-year-old Sergeant Daniel Saffeels says he’ll long remember the night of December 13th when the 1st Brigade of the 4th Infantry apprehended the man known as High Priority Target Number-One.Saffeels says he was shocked it was Saddam, figuring he would put up a serious fight and try to go out “in a blaze of glory like his two sons did, but that didn’t happen.” Saffeels says he was 200-yards from the “Butcher of Baghdad” as he was hauled out of his spider hole and only saw him as a distant shadow. Saffeels says he’s headed back to Texas for more training soon and expects he’ll be back in Iraq within a few months, though with some trepidation. “I do what I’m told. That’s why I joined the Army — to protect the country and fight for what’s right. When duty calls, I’m there.” As for all the fanfare in Chariton for his homecoming, Saffeels says he’s no hero, just a soldier doing his job. The accolades are overwhelming but great — though “too much” as he says he’s not the kind of guy who grabs at the spotlight. A ceremony is planned tomorrow morning at 9:30 at the Kum & Go store on Main Street in Chariton, followed by an open house until 11:30 A.M.
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