333rd Petition Drive

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Freeport's 333rd Military Police Unit was days away from returning to the U.S. when troops found out they'd be heading back to Iraq. Family members say the news has seriously dampened spirits and could put them at risk. That's why they're asking U.S. leaders to send the 333rd home.

"They don't know where they're going. They have to start from scratch, and we just feel it's putting their lives in more danger and it was wrong the way it was handled. They need to come home," said Beth Appino, whose son Jim is with the National Guard unit.

Appino and other family members are circulating a petition calling for the return of the 333rd Military Police Guard Unit. They hope to collect 1,000 and send them on to stateline Congressman Don Manzullo.

"The response has been great. I was little nervous at first because I didn't want people to think it was just because we miss our soldiers, which of course we do, but we're angry at the way it was handled," said Appino.

Rich Carter, an aide to Congressman Don Manzullo, says the office will be a resource for the families to help them get answers and will forward the concerns on to the Pentagon, but Carter says in volatile times of war these last minute changes are sometimes necessary.

The 333rd 150 troops were deployed in May 2003.