A Hero’s Welcome: 50 Members Of Md. National Guard Return Home

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Jessica Kartalija joined the Eyewitness News team during the summer of...
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ABERDEEN, Md. (WJZ) — They’ve been overseas for nine months, but now, 50 members of the Maryland National Guard are home.

Jessica Kartalija has more.

For the past nine months, members of the Maryland Army National Guard have been in Afghanistan. Now General Linda Singh, Senator Ben Cardin and their families are welcoming them home.

“That first time that they see their families, it’s all about emotional hello,” said Major Rick Breitenfeldt.

During their time overseas, soldiers provided aerial movement of troops, supplies and equipment for U.S. and coalition forces.

Now the soldiers are being recognized for their time and sacrifice these past nine months as part of what’s called the “Freedom Salute Campaign”–one of the Army’s largest welcome home events in National Guard history.

“I know how it feels to be back and I truly, truly welcome you home,” Singh said.

While the men and women have been home for several weeks, they say getting back together and seeing each other is very emotional.

“It’s been great being able to come back to our family,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Michael Potter.

“Seeing my little girl–she is three. It was a challenging year without her,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Justin Knight.

Knight says it’s nice to be honored for their work overseas.

“It’s really good to have VIPs, like senators, come and recognize us,” he said.

U.S. missions are often attractive targets for militants in Afghanistan. Fortunately, all members of this unit returned home safely.

It’s the company’s second tour of Afghanistan since 2008.

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