National Guard comes home

September 2, 2009 9:21:17 PM PDT
A large group of North Carolina National Guardsmen received a warm welcome home from their families Wednesday.One hundred and twenty members of the 449th Theater Aviation Brigade arrived at Pope Air Force Base Wednesday evening.

Headquartered in Morrisville, the troops deployed in support of the 10th Mountain Division to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom in September 2008.

"Been waiting two months, been 8,000 miles away, been on the road for 33 hours, just sitting here holding back the tears, all the way home," Colonel Michael Fields said.

For the past year, the 449th coordinated helicopter air operations in central Iraq. For many of the citizen soldiers it was their second tour of duty.

"I just never thought this day would come," NC National Guard Maj. Michele Harper said. "I just didn't think it would get here, I'm just so excited to come home to my little boy and my family."

The unit will be officially welcomed home during a ceremony at their armory in Morrisville on September 20.

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