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Juliussen family feature

Juliussen family feature

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Published by Brian Moritz
An update on the Kristin Juliussen feature story, written when her husband was home on leave from Iraq.
An update on the Kristin Juliussen feature story, written when her husband was home on leave from Iraq.

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Published by: Brian Moritz on Jul 24, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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07/24/2014

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Subhead: Harpursville grad's family reunion briefSubhead: Harpursville grad's family reunion briefSubhead: Harpursville grad's family reunion briefSubhead: Harpursville grad's family reunion briefSubhead: Harpursville grad's family reunion briefSubhead: Harpursville grad's family reunion briefSubhead: Harpursville grad's family reunion briefSubhead: Harpursville grad's family reunion briefSubhead: Harpursville grad's family reunion briefJuliussen family featureSubhead: Harpursville grad's family reunion briefSubhead: Harpursville grad's family reunion briefHARPURSVILLE -- It took A.J. Juliussen four days to get home last weekend.The trip started in the desert of Iraq and took him to Baghdad, then Germany, before he arrived at the Greater Binghamton Airport on Thursday.Which is when he saw his wife, Kristin, for the first time in three months."It didn't seem real," Kristin said. "It didn't seem like he was really there.""It was the first time I'd been happy in a while," A.J. said.The airport reunion was the first step of a 17-day homecoming for A.J. Juliussen, a 20-year-old Harpursville High School graduate who is stationed in Iraq as an Army specialist with 3/3 ACR Platoon, L-Troop.He's spending his leave at the house he grew up in on Route 79, a few miles down the road from Chenango Valley State Park. His plans don't go much beyond spending time with Kristin and the rest of his family.The two have a joint birthday party planned (Kristin turned 20 on Monday; A.J. turns 21 on July 4). The couple, who were high school sweethearts, will miss celebrating their one-year anniversary by one day. They were married on June 19, 2004. A.J. returns to Iraq on June 18.In a lot of ways, it's a bittersweet reunion for the Juliussen family. Two weeks isn't nearly enough time to catch up; it's just enough time to make everyone realize what they're missing."It's hard, because I know I have to go back so soon," A.J. said.A.J. enlisted in the Army after graduating from Harpursville High School in 2003. After basic training, he was stationed at Fort Collins, Colo. On March 6, he was deployed to Iraq. As an E-4 specialist; he's involved with route reconnaissance. He also drives Bradley tanks and Humvees on occasion.He doesn't like to talk about specifics when it comes to his job, especially in front of Kristin."We were talking earlier," said Joann Juliussen, his mother. "And he said, 'I traded my wife and my free time for bullets.'"After A.J. was deployed, Kristin returned home. She took online courses at Broome Community College during the spring semester and was the starting shortstop on the school's softball team, which finished second in last month's national tournament.A.J. tries to call Kristin once a day and his mother once a week. He always calls Kristin before he goes on a mission, which can last a few days."You never know what's going to happen, so I want to tell her I love her," A.J. said.The door to the Juliussens' home is adorned with a Blue Star Flag, which signifies a loved one serving in the military. There's a small American flag duct-taped to a roadside mile marker in front of the house.A framed portrait of A.J. in a tuxedo hangs on the wall just beyond the front door. Next to it is a framed print of the Military Prayer. Below that is a green plate featuring the U.S. Army logo. The clock on the kitchen wall is set to Iraq time (eight hours ahead)."The first night he was home, I cried the whole night," Joann said. "I don't know why. I couldn't wait for him to get home. Then when he got here, I couldn't enjoy it."The Juliussens are doing their best to enjoy these two weeks. The family plans t

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