Posted at: 09/26/2012 11:53 PM
By: Dan Levy
STRATTON AFB, GLENVILLE - For the second time this week, local soldiers have returned home from war. Wednesday night, about 25 members of the Army National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry Regiment came home and got to hug their loved ones for the first time since January.
The brave men and women served as part of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan where their unit conducted 577 combat missions over the summer.
Tom Bellow, of Watervliet, hit the ground running as he returned home from war, in command of his own pint-sized troops, something he's looked forward to for more than nine very long months.
Oh yeah, he'd also like to get some food.
"It would be good to sit down and have a good meal," he said, "A good American meal. It doesn't matter if it's spaghetti and meat balls or what ever it may be, something home cooked."
Tiffany Sutton, of Richfield Springs, likes that she can now tell her own 2-year old and 8-year old boys what to do, instead of someone else telling her what to do.
"I'm just excited but nervous to come home," Tiffany said, tightly embracing her two old. "I'm ready to start the every day mom things again."
Her 8-year old, Silas, who broke his arm playing football while she was overseas, says he feels "really good" now that mom is home.
And Linda Lawrence, Tiffany's mom, who was ready to relinquish her authority as grandmother-in-chief said, "They (the kids) can have their mother back. Grandma can relax now."
Sean Teeter, calls the Schoharie Valley home. He says he's glad he'll now be able to help his neighbors who are still recovering from flood damage. He's also proud of his accomplishments helpings strangers half a world away.
"We've been through a phenomenal amount," Teeter said, "And I'm glad that everyone made it home safe, everyone made it home without a scratch."
Eric Loy will settle in to home life in Clifton Park, claiming he's a different person then the one who deployed last January, saying he feels more mature.
"I've seen the world," Loy asserts. "I never really traveled before and now I've traveled all over the place."
Eric's dad, Ron, only found out about the homecoming four days prior, so the timing was perfect from his perspective.
"I can't express the elation," the elder Loy stated. "My birthday is on Saturday so it's the greatest present I could possibly receive."
"I'm just glad to be able to touch him," exclaimed Eunice Loy, Eric's mother, "I'm glad to hug him and smell him. I don't care if it's Afghan dirt or not. He's in the good old U-S-A now!"
The soldiers who returned home Wednesday night were among 1,800 New York Army National Guard soldiers assigned to the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, mobilized in January.
Even though 450 of those soldiers have returned home this week, they are being replaced overseas by another 450 or so troops being deployed this week.