Annalee Godinez and her son, 3-year-old Andrew Evan Hill, were treated to a hometown barbecue at her parents' home in Green Acres after returning from Iraq this weekend.Marine works on military helicopters. Photo by OFELIA GARCIA HUNTER

Ofelia Garcia Hunter, Alice Echo-News Journal

Ben Bolt - Sgt. Annalee Godinez, 26, a Ben Bolt native, returned from Iraq Saturday to well-wishes from family and friends.

Godinez said she missed all her family, especially her 3-year-old son Andrew Evan Hill.

"I missed my son the most," she said. "My son is my motivation, that's what keeps me going."

Godinez is a 1999 graduate from Ben Bolt High School and is stationed in Camp Pendleton in California. She enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in May 2000. Her first tour to Iraq was from Oct. 1, 2006 to April 29.

As part of her mission in Iraq, she repairs electrical systems on Cobra and Huey helicopters.

She said the Cobra is a flight-attack helicopter with only a pilot and gunner and the Huey helicopter can carry a pilot, co-pilot and several crewmembers.

"We would fix aircraft," Godinez said. "Anything electrical is ours, we have a lot of work. We have four (helicopters) that we brought back with us. We definitely have our work cut out for us."

Godinez is the daughter of Daniel and Terry Godinez, she has two brothers, two sisters and six nephews, all boys.

Godinez said that as far as amenities, she missed watching television, sitting on a couch and sleeping in her bed.

She said she experienced a few close calls in Iraq.

"The closest one was from here to the mailbox," she said as she pointed to her parent's mailbox at the end of the driveway. "Once the alarm sounds, we go to a meeting point and we have to take cover."

Colorful balloons and signs decorated the side of the road on Highway 281 that led to more signs and balloons in front of her parents' house and porch area welcoming Godinez home. About two dozen family members gathered and hosted a barbecue on Sunday afternoon.

Her parents said they are proud of their daughter.

"We're just glad to have her back; we are proud of her," Daniel Godinez, her father said.

Her mother, Terry Godinez, said having her grandson helped her stay busy.

"It feels good to have her home, it's a big relief," Terry said. "Having my grandson here kept me busy and helped me out. We didn't have time to worry constantly."

Godinez said after a year back in the United States, she is possibly going back to Iraq for a second tour.

"The hardest part is leaving behind my son," she said. "I try to reason with (my parents) and reassure them that I'm not in the frontline, but they worry, they are my parents."