Gloomy skies, wind gusts, and torrential downpours could not damper the spirits of family members of the 1st/214th Field Artillery Division this past Saturday.
Why not you may wonder? Well soldiers with the 214th returned home to their families Saturday morning after being deployed for 319 days, with a majority of that time spent in Afghanistan.
In the moments leading up to the troops return, one of the leaders of the Family Readiness Group Merre Price, described what she looked forward to the most about her husband’s return home.
“I can’t wait to hug him, want him to be back, I want to touch him”, said Price. “Haven’t touched him in nine months, they left in April and we haven’t seen them yet.”
Pulling in just after 10:00am Saturday morning, soldiers with the 214th arrived inside of the Inferno to a standing ovation from their family members.
Present at the welcoming home ceremony was Congressman Doug Collins (GA-9) who hung pictures of the 214th in his district office, but talked about what it means now that those pictures are coming down.
“And today and as we go forward, when those pictures come down is a reminder of what they have served and when people came in they had no doubt that the ninth district of Georgia, the people of Elberton, the guard, and the service matter to this country”, said Collins.
Speaking next was Major General James Butterworth, who kept his speech very short.
Butterworth said, “Welcome home heroes of Task Force Granite, hooyah”.
Commanding General of the GA Army National Guard Brigadier General Joseph Gerard followed General Butterworth, and offered some helpful advice to the returning troops.
“And while they are standing here, since I tell them what to do, when y’all get home and reintegrate with your families, just do what your spouse tells you do for a little while okay?”, Gerard jokingly said.
Closing out the speakers was Commander of the 214th LTC David Casey, who said his unit did an excellent job in representing our area.
“We’ve reached the end of the trail, you have professionally represented our battalion, our state, and our foreign soil”, said Casey. “You brought hope to a war torn nation, where little hope exists.”