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Flathead troops welcomed home

By Kevin Lessard, KCFW Reporter, klessard@kcfw.com
Published On: Sep 21 2013 05:28:29 PM MDT
KALISPELL, Mont. -

66 soldiers from the Montana Army National Guard have returned home.

They just finished a nine month tour in Afghanistan.

Hundreds gathered at the Kalispell Jet Center to welcome home the Montana Army National Guard's 495th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion.

We were there as the plane landed and families began to scream and cheer as the sights of their loved ones started sinking in.

"As soon as I started descending and got off that plane I was just very happy and excited that this is actually happening and I get to see my family," said Staff Sergeant Serena O’Brien.

"Find my family, that was my main goal,” said Specialist Bryce Flammond.  “I've been looking forward to this moment the last 11 months it seems like."

We spoke with a lot of families and soldiers, and a lot of different words were used to describe their feelings and thoughts on the gathering.  One of the ones we heard the most was thankful.  Thankful, that they're loved one made it home.

"I come from a military family so just the opportunity to come back and see family it's an amazing feeling," Flammond said.

Emotions ran high; where tears of joy were everywhere you looked.

O’Brien is meeting her first grandson for the first time today.

He was born two months ago when she was gone.

"It's really hard to explain,” she said.  “Again I still feel like it's not really happening.  Maybe when I get home in my house I'll get it in me that this is happening and this is what's going on."

Beyond seeing loved ones and families, the troops, like Flammond, tell us there are other things they look forward to as well.

"Get a good burger,” he said.  “Yeah, a good American burger, that's what I'm looking forward to."