Tearful reunions and hugs marked the scene of a happy homecoming as dozens of soldiers returned this afternoon from a year-long tour in Afghanistan.
About 60 members of the Connecticut National Guard 2nd Battalion, 104th Aviation Regiment were greeted by their friends and family at the Army Aviation Support Facility in Windsor Locks.
“I’m very proud of my son,” said Frank Intino, who made the trip from Florida to be reunited with Sgt. Anthony Intino.
The soldiers also got a special greeting from Gov. Dannel Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, who welcomed them off the plane and thanked them for their service.
Soldiers said they appreciated the support.
“That made me feel at home—seeing everybody here,” said Sgt. Intino.
“You really can’t put words into it. It…wrenches your heart,” said Staff Sgt. Alicia Balli.
Now that she’s home, Sgt. Balli said she’s looking forward to some time off.
“I want to relax, kick my feet up…not have to get in a uniform to walk into a bathroom,” Balli said.
Meanwhile, Frank Intino says he's just happy to have his son back safe and sound.
“We saw him being born. We saw him coming back, and it was sort of like he’s coming back to us again, and we thank god that everybody came back safe,” he said.
The battalion left for Fort Hood, Tex. in October of last year, and from there headed to Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The unit flies helicopters to transport supplies, equipment and military personnel.