Nearly 200 soldiers return to Wisconsin from Afghanistan

Published: Aug. 14, 2020 at 6:35 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Approximately 400 soldiers in the 128th Infantry were deployed to the Middle East in the summer of 2019.

This afternoon, the final wave of soldiers returned home and into their family and friend’s arms.

The plane which transported approximately 200 soldiers landed at the Chippewa Valley Airport just after 1pm. The unit had to quarantine in Fort Hood, Texas for two weeks before returning to Wisconsin. Now their loved ones just say they are so happy to welcome them home.

Anxious silence, turned into excited screams, and tears of happiness Friday afternoon.

Kellie Hedlund, the mother of a soldier returning home told WEAU,

"We are all elated to have our soldiers back home".

August 14th marked the day the final wave of soldiers returned from Afghanistan, and landed back home safely in Wisconsin.

Darla Ozzane another mother of a soldier said,

“You keep waiting for this moment, you say a lot of prayers for them and you know they’ve been through a lot and being separated this is the longest we’ve ever been apart”.

Captain Joe Travato, spokesperson for Wisconsin National Guard told WEAU,

“Today is one of the best moments of anyone’s career in the military. Any chance you get to reunite soldiers with their families after a long deployment and a job well done overseas it doesn’t get any better than that”.

Loved ones say it’s been over a year since they saw the soldiers in person, which made the reunion even more special.

“And then to be together again it’s just like, it will be a moment that we have long waited for were just so thankful that it’s here and we get to see him and feel him and touch him and talk to him in person,” said Ozzane.

Hundreds of people gathered for the event, and after what some said felt like hours of waiting, they finally got to take their beloved soldiers home.

Captain Travato said those who landed in Wisconsin Friday will have some time off before returning to their civilian employment or training.

The 128th Infantry who returned today were serving in the Middle East as Guardian Angels. A part of the “Red Arrow” Infantry Brigade Combat Team they served as a security element overseas. From WEAU we’d like to thank those men and women for their service.

Copyright 2020 WEAU. All rights reserved.

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