Nearly 100 soldiers were formally welcomed home Wednesday after successfully completing their missions during months of deployment.
The ceremony was a chance for Connecticut to thank the soldiers for everything they do. Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman spoke and medals were handed out, as the service members and their families were honored.
The 143rd Regional Support Group based in Middletown spent nearly nine months deployed overseas to Afghanistan. The 35 soldiers commanded a diverse, multi-coalition organization of 500 soldiers and civilians and were responsible for base protection.
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Normally units get up to two years to prepare for deployment, but this unit had only a month and rose to the occasion.
“They literally had to leave their families and their jobs their school on short notice and answer the nations call,” Col. John Wiltse, Commander of the 143rd Regional Support Group said.
The 192nd Military Police Battalion out of Niantic spent about 10 months at Guantanamo Bay. The 55 soldiers were deployed in support of detainee operations.
“It’s difficult because we’re going from a new normal down there with all active duty soldiers to coming back to civilian life and just getting out of the sense that we can actually sit down and relax,” 1st Lt. Matthew Kuchta of the 192nd Military Police Battalion said.
Several awards were given out including the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. Many honored said while they are glad to be home, they would not hesitate to answer the call and serve their country again.
“I enjoyed every minute of it. It was hot and the food was so-so, but it was great,” 1ST Lt. Mark Soltau said. “I would do it again in a heartbeat.”