Troops Return Home

Thursday, March 5, 2009 - 8:26pm

More than 80 National Guard soldiers returned home today from a year long deployment in Afghanistan. Our Lauren Unger has more on the troops and the families welcoming them home.

Homemade signs and flags in hand, they’d waited months to see the ones they love. But for many, those final moments were the hardest, waiting until members of the 927th Engineer Company were in their arms.

Like Krystal Thomas, hoping to see her husband hold his new baby girl for the first time. Patrick Thomas says, “This is the first time I’ve seen her. I came off leave six months ago, she had her in January. I got to see pictures of her on the web cam and that’s it. She’s big.”

Then there’s Caroline Marrioneaux and Kasey Moore. They’re fiancés, friends, and part of the same company. They each got engaged during leave. Now the soldiers are home for a different task—to plan a wedding.

Plus a family with their eyes fixed on their son and brother. He turned 21 in Afghanistan. Today, they’ll celebrate more than just the missed birthday.

A network and support system that commanders say is just as important as the mission they completed. Capt. Anthony Dorsa says, “We’re excited to have this much of a crowd. I know the men were looking out the window and they were excited.” And with some greetings from the Governor for a job well done, “These are the real heroes, they put on the uniform, they run towards danger, not away from it.”

They’re hoping to settle in and start their next mission—quality time with those they love. While deployed, the guard members focused on clearing important routes and supporting the troops in Afghanistan.