Air Guardsman Return from Middle East - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

05/12/04

Air Guardsman Return from Middle East

Thousands of our friends and neighbors serve America in uniform, often overseas. Now, some are back home with their families. Yesterday afternoon, despite the rainy weather, excited families anxiously waited to welcome home Guardsmen from the 165th Air National Guard.

After a long flight back and waiting for their loved ones to arrive, Guardsmen from the 165th finally felt the embrace they've been waiting for. "You just look around and you know people love us and appreciate what we're doing," said SMS Thomas Hager. "That means a lot to us."

What these Guardsmen do also means a lot to their families and members of their community. "The people that are over there giving their lives for our children and their children, our grandchildren, you know, they just give up themselves and I just appreciate their time and their efforts and I'm just glad their home safely now," said military spouse Deborah Hager.

After being rotated in and out of the Middle East time and time again, these Guardsmen say these short trips home really help keep morale high. "You can come back home and be with your family some and regroup and go back," said SMS Hager. "Especially for our equipment too, our equipment takes a beating."

With all the stress and dangers these Guardsmen face, every single one of them have made it home with out a scratch. "There's been no loss of life there," said commanding officer MG David Poythress. "We've lost one Georgia Army Guard some six months ago. That was an automobile accident in Baghdad, but other than that no casualties and no injuries."

Another group is expected to return this week.

Reported by: Nicole Teigen, nteigen@wtoc.com

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