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25 Guardsmen back on island soil

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by Jolene Toves

Guam - The wait is over for the families of 25 Air National Guardsmen and one Army National Guard member who returned home last night.

It was a heroe's welcoming for 25 five members of the Guam Air National Guard's 254th Security Forces Squadron who returned home last night after being deployed to Qatar since last August.

Joining the group was an Army National Guard Soldier who underwent medical treatment at Tripler Army Medical Center for the last three months after his deployment to Afghanistan.,

The airport's arrivals area was filled with family members eagerly awaiting their loved ones return some like Alexandria Garcia and her two month old daughter Lilli, who met her dad for the very first time. Lilli's shirt read "Welcome Home Daddy I Have Waited My Whole Life To Meet You" and her dad shared the same feeling as he held  her in his arms. Senior Airman Garcia said, "It's been a long time and I am really...I have no words, I don't know...I've just been wanting to come home wanting to meet her."

Also there waiting for his step dad to return was 4-year-old Lacen and his mom Shaniece Roberto.  When asked what he was going to do when he saw his daddy, Lacen said, "Hug him tight!"

And that is exactly what he did, as Staff Sergeant John Chaco said, "I'm very excited to be home...I can't wait to go and get some good food and hit the beach - and have fun!"

Master Sergeant Richard Flores shared not only his happiness but gave accolades to his fellow Guardsmen. "It's been a long deployment very happy and excited to be here with my girl's my wife Jen, so it's wonderful. Team performed well downrange and we are just happy to be home," he said.

Their task was to support the Air Force's Air and Space Expeditionary Force mission in Southwest Asia. Arriving home in two waves at the Guam International Airport the first wave included 16 airmen and one Army National Guardsman. Followed by the second wave of nine airmen later that evening. We should note that six Air National Guardsmen are still deployed as part of the rear detachment and are expected to return the first week of April. 

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