From Iraq with love to Ripley Elementary School

By Kedrick Storey/Southern Sentinel

RIPLEY – It was no ordinary Monday for Ripley Elementary School student Landon Rainey.

Instead of his normal noon routine in Georgiana Brady’s first grade class, Landon was called to the office, but he wasn’t in trouble. RES Principal Nedra Nabors summoned Landon for a special treat, a surprise from over 6,800 miles away.

Not long after Landon arrived at the office, from behind a closed door popped Landon’s father, Josh Rainey, who is currently two months into 12-month tour of duty in Iraq. Gone since the end of July, the elder Rainey earned a 15-day leave. He returned to the states Sunday, Sept. 18 and is scheduled to return to Taji, Iraq on Oct. 4.

Landon, who will turn seven in November, didn’t have to much to say. He was too busy smiling.

When asked what he thought of his surprise, Landon responded, “It’s good.” On the follow-up question, Are you shocked, surprised and excited, with a huge grin Landon said, “YES!”

Josh Rainey is in Iraq as part of the Montana Army National Guard’s Charlie Company 1-189th General Support Aviation Battalion (GSAB), an Army Aviation Medevac Unit. Rainey, who’s served in the Army National Guard for eight years, is in the 1108th Avcrad Army National Guard Unit out of Gulfport. His Gulfport unit is attached to Montana National Guard unit. This is Rainey’s second tour to Iraq. He also served a tour in Afghanistan.

As Josh sat clutching his only child, he was at a loss for words as well.

“Words can’t describe this. It’s exciting,” said Josh.

After such an exciting event, not going back to class for Landon was a foregone conclusion.

“I want to go with my daddy,” he said.

Josh was joined with his parents Sharon and Tommy Rainey and his fiance Dawn Miller.