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W.Va. Soldiers Return Home From Middle East Duty

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Caitlin Tan
/
West Virginia Public Broadcasting
Frank and Holly Hitt reunite at the Laidley Field in Charleston Aug. 25, after almost a year apart.

Families welcomed home 138 members of the West Virginia National Guard at Laidley Field in Charleston Tuesday.

Hundreds of people came out to greet members of the 1st Squadron, 150th Cavalry Regiment, who were returning from the Middle East. The squadron was deployed for nine months, mostly in Kuwait with some serving in Iraq and Syria.

The soldiers arrived on two buses, walking out onto the field under sunny skies, between two lines of American and West Virginia flags. Families held signs that read: “You promised to come home. I promised to be here. Welcome home.”

Soldiers were met with tears, laughter and screams.

Gov. Jim Justice, who is also the commander in chief for the guard, spoke at the event.

“It’s so wonderful to have you home, to have you home in these absolute wonderful mountains,” he said.

There are over 450 members of the state’s Army and Air National Guard deployed across the world. Holli Nelson, the national guard state public affairs officer, said COVID has not impacted deployment other than social-distancing requirements at welcome-home events.

“Ultimately we have a responsibility to be ready to fight no matter what else is taking place in the world,” she said.

The welcome-back event closed with the beloved Mountain State theme song, John Denver’s “Take Me Home Country Roads.”


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