State National Guardsmen Welcomed Home

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welcomeA helicopter unit of the Connecticut Army National Guard arrived home Saturday after a deployment to Afghanistan. Their joyful return was a reminder that there’s truly no place like home.

There was no shortage of welcome home kisses for these soldiers, holding their babies for the first time in a long time.

Nearly 60 soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 104th Aviation Regiment of Windsor Locks returned home after a yearlong deployment.

“Our soldiers really worked hard and set the standard for aviation in Afghanistan, so really proud of our guys and families supporting them throughout the entire time,” said Captain Evan Lock.

This marks Sgt. Shawn Adams’ third return home from Afghanistan.

“Working with younger guys, trying to show them the ropes, how to handle the stresses, get the job done and come home safe, ya know,” Adams said.

Home now, safe and sound, what’s the first thing Sgt. Adams plans to  do?

“Actually, first thing I’m going to do is sit on the couch,” he said, laughing.

Sgt. Raymond Zito returned, too, greeted by his wife Jennifer and daughter Zoe.

“Great, awesome. Everybody that I love is here, so I’m good,” Sgt. Zito said.

Bethzaida Gonzalez says things in Afghanistan have significantly changed since her first deployment.

“It’s different now from when it first started. It’s calmed down a lot. We’re just ready to come home.,” she said.

Asked the first thing she planned to do when she got home Saturday night, Gonzalez said: “I’m going to go home and cook dinner for my family. … I miss cooking. I miss being with my family.”

Family was certainly first and foremost in these soldiers’ hearts as they stepped off that plane and searched for their loved ones for an overdue embrace.

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