FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, LEBANON—About 25 national guard members returned to the Midstate Wednesday afternoon after a tour of duty in Iraq.
The members of the 2-104th General Support Aviation Battalion were away for a year.
They delivered troops and supplies using helicopters in southern Iraq.
"It's surreal to be home with family again," CW2 Dave Ofak, of Harrisburg, said.
It's nearly a month after Christmas, but Ofak's family saved presents for him to open.
"I'm looking forward to getting home and playing with toys with my son," Ofak said.
For Kelle and Melvin Hasenauer, the National Guard is a family affair.
The Harrisburg couple serve in the same unit, though Kelle stayed behind while Melvin was deployed to Iraq.
She worked at Ft. Indiantown Gap to support the soldiers overseas.
"It was a challenge, but it was worth it," she said.
Many of these soldiers are just happy to trade Iraq's 130-degree temperatures and fierce sandstorms for Pennsylvania's forests and farmland.
"The grass and the sky, you don't realize how beautiful it is over here until you go somewhere with nothing to look at," Sgt. Nick Raia said.