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Holts interviews with 3rd ID soldiers air Saturday
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Sgt. Paul Williams, 25, and his wife, Elista, are interviewed Thursday by NBC newsman Lester Holt on Fort Stewart. The program will air at 6:30 Saturday on NBC. - photo by Lewis Levine

NBC newsman Lester Holt, who anchors the weekend edition of the Today Show, NBC Nightly News and Dateline, visited Fort Stewart last week.

For several hours Thursday, Holt conducted interviews with former 3rd Infantry Division Commander Maj. Gen Robert “Abe” Abrams and soldiers he encountered while embedded with the 3rd ID during an Afghanistan deployment.

While Holt and his team were embedded with the division last September, they filmed U.S. troops training Afghan soldiers to take over the security of their nation.

"It was by happenstance that we were assigned the 3rd Infantry Division," Holt said. The news crew was given a section of the country to observe, and the 3rdID happened to be operating in that sector.

Holt said he visited Fort Stewart primarily to follow up with and interview the soldiers he met in Afghanistan. He asked the troops how they felt about about returning home and not having to deploy to a war zone in the near future.

"That cycle is coming to an end now, where they came home, trained up and headed back out again," Holt said.

Sgt. Paul Williams, 25, and his wife, Elista, took part in the interviews and answered Holt’s questions about deployment and the difficulties of readjusting to family life.

Williams agreed to do the segment after he was approached by Holt’s producer, Kim Cornett, when he returned home last week. 

"They asked me if I would be willing to be interviewed for the program, and I said, ‘Sure,’" Williams said.

The soldier said it will be a great honor to represent the Army on the program, which airs at 6:30 p.m. Saturday on NBC.

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