14 Guardsmen back home from Afghanistan

Posted at 7:17 PM, Oct 21, 2012
and last updated 2012-10-22 00:23:47-04

SALT LAKE CITY - Fourteen members of the Utah National Guard's 130th Squadron returned home Sunday after spending months in Afghanistan.

The 130th Installation Engineer Squadron spent seven months helping build the backbone of communication in the Middle East and, after 26 hours of traveling back to Utah, they were welcomed by family and friends.

"Overwhelming excitement, can't contain myself, huge celebration. It's bigger than a birthday, it's bigger than a wedding. They've been serving our country and now they're home," said Tonia Johnson.

This tour was Senior Master Sgt. Brad Johnson's third deployment. His wife Tonia and 5-year-old son Greyson were there to welcome him.

"We are all standing here together. And then I'm going to drop my sign and jump over and give my daddy lots of hugs and kisses," Greyson said.

Master Sgt. Rodney Bell says the soldiers had to spend six months being tough guys, but not Sunday.

"We were all fighting back the tears and wondering who would be the first to break down," Bell said. "We are doing good things over there it makes you have a true appreciation for the country we live in."

The twelve remaining members of the 130th Squadron will return next month.