It was party time Saturday for Army Pfc. Kristen M. Staley, who returned home from the Persian Gulf April 21.

Staley, 19, came home for an 11-day visit with her mother, Patricia, and brother, Keith. She was in the gulf Oct. 1 to mid-April.

"I turned 19 in Saudi Arabia," she said. "I had a lot of detail that day, then I spent some time with my friends. We were in port, so we clowned around with some of the guys on the ship."

While in theMiddle East, Staley provided communication support to the 8th Engineers, 1st Calvary. She is a switchboard operator with Delta Company, 57th Signal Battalion. The day before the cease fire, Staley's group went into Iraq. It spent the next nine days there, trying to keep things quiet.

"Because of the lack of communication there, a lot of Iraqis didn't know there was a cease fire, so there were pockets of fighting. And there were a lot of POWs."

Staley has been in the Army for two years and is stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. She plans to leave home tomorrow, travel to Virginia in her new car to visit friends, then continue to Florida to see her sister, Genie Staley. She returnsto Fort Hood May 20.

"The war was an experience," Staley said. "It was part of history, and I was glad I was able to be a part of it.

Today, Staley will be chosen Miss Poppy by the Westminster American Legion Post. The ceremony is at 5:30 p.m. on Sycamore and Green streets.

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