Virginia National Guard troops come home

By Matt Butner - email

Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - After nearly a year serving in Iraq, 145 Army National Guard soldiers are back in Virginia. Members of the seventeen-tenth transportation company touched down at Richmond International Airport Friday morning

The unit logged about nine hundred thousand miles moving supplies throughout Iraq. As they stepped off the plane, the Richmond-based National Guard troops set their boots on Virginia ground for the first time in almost a year. The governor himself was the first to greet them.

First Lieutenant Sheryl Lloyd could hardly contain her excitement over reuniting with her husband and children.

"Oh man, it's going to be a great reunion, a lot of love, a lot of food, a lot of kissing, a lot of hugs. A lot of good stuff going on later," said Lloyd.

For the seventeen-tenth transportation company, there will be many happy reunions: all of its members who left for duty in March of 2008, returned home safe and sound.

"To bring them back, to thank them for their service and what they've done over there in a very dangerous part of the world, is a joyous event," said Major General Robert B. Newman.

Sergeant Don Stevens has family in Norfolk eagerly awaiting his return.

"I'm not afraid to say that I might shed a tear here and there, but hey, that's just a part of being human I guess," said Stevens.

Those tears of joy will come only after more of something military families are used to, waiting.

The seventeen-tenth has been back in the United States since February 22. They spent five days at Camp Atterbury in Indiana before boarding their flight to Richmond.

The final leg of their journey, an hour and a half long bus ride to their final destination, where they will be greeted by family and friends. Those buses took the 17-tenth to Eemporia, where all of those joyous reunions finally took place during an official homecoming ceremony.

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