It was a big celebration at the Armory as more than 70 members of the National Guard returned to Connecticut.
Members of Detachment 2 and the 143rd Regional Support Group gathered for an official welcome home ceremony as they embraced love ones and life back in the U.S.
"It’s really good to be home," said Captain Shaneka Ashman.
"I missed my family so much," said Human Resource Specialist Rebecca Washington.
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The Middletown and Windsor Locks-based groups are returning home after overseeing air movement missions throughout eastern Africa and Operation Spartan Shield in Jordan from October 2020 to July of this year.
But as much as the members say they enjoyed the deployment, they say there’s something wonderful about returning to life as a civilian.
"To wear regular clothes and sit on my couch and watch TV feels great. It was great to have a family dinner after a year," said Washington. "It’s the small things you really take for granted when you’re removed from the comfort of your home so you appreciate it more when you come home."
The Commander in Chief of the Connecticut Guard Governor Ned Lamont, along with Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz and Senator Richard Blumenthal, handed out medals in commemoration of the completion of their mission. But it was the families who felt they received the real award.
"There’s nothing like having your spouse or your father no matter how much the replacements are there," said Meg Evans.
Evans is the wife of Flight Operation Sergeant Chris Evans and describes the mix of emotions that come with having a spouse deployed.
"It’s something you’re really proud of. Not everyone gets to serve their country and be a part of this but there are certainly those times it can be lonely managing life when you’re used to having your partner by your side. But I think again in those moments you just have to think of the overall big picture and the importance of service and giving back" said Evans.