Army National Guard 1st Lt. Richard A. Weber Jr. has returned to the U.S. after being deployed overseas at a forward operating base in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Operation Iraqi Freedom is the official name given to military operations involving members of the U.S. armed forces and coalition forces participating in efforts to free and secure Iraq. Mission objectives focus on force protection, peacekeeping, stabilization, security and counter-insurgency operations as the Iraqi transitional governing bodies assume full sovereign powers to govern the peoples of Iraq.

Members from all branches of the U.S. military and multinational forces are also assisting in rebuilding Iraq's economic and governmental infrastructure, and training and preparing Iraqi military and security forces to assume full authority and responsibility in defending and preserving Iraq's sovereignty and independence as a democracy.

Weber, a combat engineer, is normally assigned to the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, Philadelphia. He has served in the military for 19 years.

He is the son of Bonnie J. Pahula of Third St., Catasauqua, and stepson of Theodore A. Pahula of Allen St., Allentown..

The lieutenant graduated in 1982 from Northern Lehigh High School and received a bachelor's degree in 2009 from Excelsior College, Albany, N.Y.