"In a C-130,'' said Jim Butterworth, Adjutant General of the Georgia National Guard, "it's a long ride to come home from the Middle East.''
But there's never anything like being here again.
"It's just a good feeling. You always look forward to coming home,'' said Lt. Col. Andrew Cadden, who was among the members of the 165th Airlift Wing of the Georgia Air National Guard who flew home from Afghanistan Friday. "I'm just glad to be here.''
The was returning from a four-month deployment, during which they transported troops and cargo, serving their role in the war on terror while honoring their unit back home.
"They had a 97 percent completion rate on the mission they were assigned,'' said Butterworth. "Nobody does it better. I'm a little bit biased, but I can promise you, nobody does it better.''
Now most of these local airmen will return to doing what they do when they're not overseas, gratefully rejoining a reality that for four months must have seemed as far away as they were.
"They're going to come home and go back to their civilian jobs and to their families,'' said Butterworth. "And that's one of the blessings of being in the guard.''
A welcome home, like they received today, is another.
"I appreciate the community's support,'' said Cadden. "It's nice to be home.''
Friday, May 24 2013 7:57 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:57:32 GMT
SCAD's Queer and Allies gay support group is calling the historic lifting of the gay ban by the Boy Scouts the latest milestone in the gay rights movement. More >>
While the Coastal Empire Council of the Boy Scouts of America contemplates a change in allowing openly gay child and teen members, SCAD's Queer and Allies gay support group is calling the historic lifting of the ban by the Boy Scouts the latest milestone in the gay rights movement. More >>