Military Chaplain Returns to Family - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Military Chaplain Returns to Family

PASCO, Wash. - He has been serving our country as a military chaplain in Iraq and Monday evening get arrived at the Pasco Airport after traveling for about 35 hours to see his family.

It was a very emotional time for 41-year-old Rodney Gilliam.  His parents, sister and brother all live in the Tri-Cities.  He has been in Iraq since January 1, 2007 working to counsel troops on the battlefield.

He said his job is difficult at times but extremely rewarding.  Gilliam said the soldiers come from different backgrounds and said many of them seek out religion while they are serving their country.

Before being deployed Gilliam, his wife and two sons lived in North Carolina at Fort Bragg.  They flew into the Tri-Cities to be with him Monday.  Gilliam said it is tough to be away from them.

Gilliam embraced his family with hugs and kisses and said, "Right now, it's hard to describe how I feel.  I have been imaging this moment for a long time.  How good it would be two touch them all again and to actually be here."

While stationed in Iraq Gilliam was unarmed on the battlefield and said the soldiers looked out for him.  He is the fourth generation minister in his family.

Unfortunately the only reason he was allowed to come home was because his father is very sick with cancer.

Gilliam is expected to return to Iraq at the end of April and serve for another 13 months.