324 Guam soldiers touch down at Camp Shelby over weekend
by Jolene Toves
Guam - In less than two weeks Guam soldiers will be returning home as nearly half of the deployed have touch down on United States soil over the weekend.
After nine months of supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan 342 deployed soldiers and their families have something to celebrate as they will finally be reunited in a matter of weeks. Eagerly families are waiting and their excitement is building. One of those family members is Bernie Lizama, who said, "It's really exciting it kind of different with this deployment before I use to be so very anxious and right now with the holiday season around I was kind of not really into the spirit but when we started hearing that they are going to be coming home soon then things started kicking up."
The holidays are always a tough time for families of deployed soldiers so the news of Guam's soldiers touching down on us soil is a big relief that they are out of harm's way. Lizama will be welcoming not one but two loved ones home her husband Sergeant First Class Anthony and her son Specialist Randall Lizama. "I was just so happy and so relieved because knowing that my husband and my son are on us soil and that is the best Christmas present I could ever ask for," she said. "I know that everybody is so anxious to hear from their loved ones about when their arriving on us soil I think that's the most important thing for all of us is when they touch us soil knowing that they are out of harm's way."
342 soldiers arrived at Camp Shelby over the weekend where they have eleven days to demobilize getting their medical clearances and administrative clearances prior to returning to Guam and while some families have flown out to meet their loved ones. With less than two weeks families on island are preparing for to welcome them home. "We've been meeting with the families trying to get things ready for the guys for when they get home each company has their own set of plans as to what each company will be doing but I believe at the end there will be some kind of big homecoming for all the companies to come together,' she said.
According to public affairs officer Major Josephine Blas it is expected that by mid-January all Guam's sons and daughters will be back on island with their families.
Adjutant general of the Guard, Major General Benny Paulino says we're halfway there and continue to pray for safe travels of our remaining soldiers. There's still 31 airmen from the Guam Air National Guard's 254th Security Forces Squadron and four soldiers from the Guam Army National Guard's 1990th Contingency Contracting Team deployed during this holiday season in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.