SALT LAKE CITY — The last of Utah's National Guard troops serving in Afghanistan returned home Tuesday.
Families and friends of soldiers waited at Salt Lake City International Airport with open arms, eager to see loved ones who deployed overseas in May 2020.
“I was so excited to just hug him and see him. It’s been a long year," said Rebecca Crowther of West Jordan, who welcomed home her husband Staff Sgt. Spencer Crowther. Both Crowthers serve in the military. They have been married for about three years and say they've spent almost half their marriage apart to serve our country.
WELCOME HOME SOLDIERS!
Some of the final members of the @UTNationalGuard 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment returned home from Afghanistan this afternoon. 🙏 @fox13 | @SpencerJCox pic.twitter.com/HWYk5DzRhD
— 𝐁𝐫𝐢𝐚𝐧 𝐒𝐜𝐡𝐧𝐞𝐞 (@brian_schnee) May 4, 2021
Those who returned today were part of the 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment. The soldiers were among a larger contingent of nearly 300 service members who began redeployment home in October.
“This is just such a happy day, I’ve been looking forward to this day since I left Afghanistan back in October,” said Lt. Col. Jon Richardson. “To bring them all home, it was my prayer and my heartfelt desire and they’re back in the United States, all of them, so just what a wonderful day.”
While in Afghanistan, the battalion were a part of Task Force Ivy Eagle.
“After 10 long months and multiple iterations of redeployments back home of 1-211th Aviation unit members, it is nice to have the remaining Soldiers finally return back home to their families and rejoin the rest of the unit,” said Maj. Tait Larsen. “The Soldiers all served their nation with pride and distinction while deployed this past year.”