Heartwarming homecoming: Ill. National Guard soldiers return - FOX 35 News Orlando

Heartwarming homecoming: Ill. National Guard soldiers return to Chicago

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Illinois National Guard members arrived home from Kuwait on Wednesday, after nearly two years away from home for some. Amid tears and embraces, smiles were abundant.

Their families were thrilled on Wednesday, because the soldiers came home a little earlier than expected. They told FOX 32 that they are so happy to be home.

Approximately 175 Illinois Army National Guard soldiers with Company B, both the 106th Aviation Regiment and 935th Aviation Support Battalion of Chicago are now home. They were sent to support Operation Enduring Freedom in June of 2012. Fortunately, no one was injured in serving in Kuwait.

Hugs, kisses and tears were shared as loved ones caught up with their soldiers at Midway Airport. Many soldiers haven't seen some of their young children since they were about six months old, and now they are little toddlers running around.

"They do so much, they give so much," one soldier's mother said. "The families give and do so much. It's just good that he wanted to serve his country and he did that, and he's home. We're just happy."

Sidney Merriweather couldn't let go of his son.

"I came fresh out of AIT and basic training, so I didn't get to spend that much time with my family," says Merriweather who returned home. "I've been gone for almost 2 years, so it just feels good to see my son, it's an amazing feeling."

Timothy Gleason's boys wore t-shirts letting everyone know their Daddy reports to "them" now.

"I've got three of my kids here," Gleason says. "We've got one more that we'll surprise at school, so yeah, it feels good. I thought this little guy was going to be scared around me, but he's not, he's doing really good."

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