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Conn. National Guard Unit Comes Home From Afghanistan

(NECN: Brian Burnell, East Granby, Conn.) - When American soldiers come home from war, they are likely to find things have changed a bit while they were overseas doing their duty.

When the 160 members of the Connecticut National Guard stepped off the plane into a crowd of happy loved ones, that included eight new faces, including Nora and Tucker - babies born while dad was away.  

Nora's mom, Sarah Crudo, says her husband, Specialist Mathew Crudo, was there for the birth through the miracle of Skype.

"It really was amazing. I have no complaints. He was there. He never left my side. We talked to each other. He got to see her before I even did, really," she says.

But seeing your daughter on a computer screen from half a world away does not compare to holding her for the first time.

Specialist Crudo was at a loss for words, saying only, "This is awesome."

But his smile says all you need to know. And just to add to the drama of this homecoming, he was also greeted by his new niece, Lyla. Which brings to mind the year Matt's mother, Theresa has had, with her son in Afghanistan while not one but two new grandchildren are born. Her blood pressure was a little elevated as she waited for the plane.

"I can't wait to see him. I just can't wait to hug him, too. Hug him and see him," she says.

Devoted family greeting dedicated soldiers. A great example of that is the Burke family. Sgt Forrest Burke moved to Maine, but he was part of the Connecticut National Guard and wanted to keep it that way, so he did and went to Afghanistan with his boys.

"I had been training with the guys in Connecticut for a long while and so when we got our warno, I had already moved to Maine and I was, like, you know what? I'm just going to stay with Connecticut Guard, deploy with my guys and after that we'll see what happens," he says.

And while he was gone his wife, Tessa, gave birth to their son, Tucker.

"I have people ask me that all the time... How'd you do it? I don't know. Because I had to," he says.

They also serve who only stand and wait. 

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