Joyful homecoming for Indiana National Guard soldiers Thursday

More than 100 members of the Indiana National Guard arrived home, greeted by family and friends.

Young boy holds sign at Indiana National Guard homecoming

Young boy holds sign at Indiana National Guard homecoming

Indianapolis

It was a wonderful welcome home for members of the 219th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade Thursday morning.

The brigade was scheduled to arrive at 4:30 a.m., but it was a great surprise for their loved ones when they showed up an hour and a half early.

More than 100 members of the Indiana National Guard arrived home, greeted by family and friends.

The soldiers were deployed to southern Iraq in March. Their mission was to conduct reconnaissance and surveillance operations and to assist in the early stages of the withdrawal of US military operations in Iraq.

For many of the soldiers and their families, it was a long 8 months and they did the best they could with the time apart.

"It's better now with Skype and email, but it's still tough not having contact," said Capt. Glen Koelling.

For Maj. Andrew Weaver, the most recent tour was his third deployment to Iraq. 

"Definitely was a challenge, but I kept busy and now he's gonna be home in a couple of days," said Weaver’s wife, Jenny.

Spc. Damon Mills, on his first tour of duty, the distance was difficult, but he said it was an experience of a lifetime.

“I learned a lot about myself,” said Mills. “It wasn't what I thought, it was actually more. Do you have a new sense of pride and oh yeah, 100 percent."

So, a brief hello and now another goodbye, but this is a short one.

The soldiers will demobilize for a week at Camp Atterbury and then have a month of leave, before reporting back for duty.

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