After serving a seven-month tour of duty in Operation Iraqi Freedom with the United States Marine Corps, a Walnut Springs resident safely made his way home.

Lance Cpl. Kyle Cook, 21, returned stateside on Saturday, April 12, stepping off an airliner to see a large crowd waiting for their loved ones at Fort Worths Naval Air Station-Joint Reserve Base at Carswell.

The Marine Corps reservist who is assigned with the Marine Wing Support Squadron (MWSS) 473 - Detachment Bravo, is glad to be home after being deployed to Al Asad Airfield, the largest U.S. military airbase in the largely Sunni western Iraqi Al Anbar Province.

A 2005 graduate of Walnut Springs High School, Cook attended college for a year before deciding to enlist as a reservist with the Marine Corps, said his mother Shelley Cagle.

Its good to be home, said Cook, who was deployed to Iraq with his unit on Sept. 23, 2007. I missed being home. Mostly, I missed my family and friends, and the home cooked meals.

Since returning, Cook has been staying with family in Walnut Springs, said Cagle. Its great having him home, but hes been staying busy. Hes at the age where he wants to hang out with friends now.

While stationed at Al Asad Airfield, Cook, a heavy equipment operator who drove bulldozers, front-end loaders and backhoes, and his unit were assigned to base support duties. We built an AH-1 Cobra helipad, shooting ranges and other facilities on the base. We also did runs to carry supplies to other units. It made for a lot of long days.

Keeping in touch with family was also not difficult to do, said Cook. I talked to my family whenever I could. While in Iraq, I sent email all the time and tried to make calls at least once a week.

Although a reservist, Cook says he is still considered an active duty member of the Marine Corps and could be called for deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan in the future.

Cook is currently having to fulfill his commitment to the military as a reservist, attending two-day drill weekends at NAS-JRB Fort Worth once a month. He says hes on a five-year rotation and could be called up to serve again at anytime.

Right now, Im hoping that I dont have to go back, but if I have to, I will, said Cook, whos glad he can get back to work in the civilian sector. I hope to go back to work full-time and not yet sure just what. Hopefully, I can get into a job where I operate heavy equipment.

Kyle is the son of Shelley and Sam Cagle, of Walnut Springs; the sister of Kayla Cook, also of Walnut Springs; and the nephew of Carrie and Bobby Montgomery, of Hico, formerly of Glen Rose.