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Utah Air National Guard troops return from Qatar

Posted at 3:52 PM, Jun 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-14 17:52:53-04

Tearful kisses and long hugs filled the Utah National Guard base Sunday morning after more than 120 troops from the 151st Air Refueling Wing of the Utah Air National Guard returned home from a mission in Qatar.

People of all ages were prepared with signs, cameras and decorations to welcome the troops.

After checking in at the guard booth, friends and family had to wait close to two hours to see their loved ones return from overseas. They say that despite the wait, they were happy to see them home safe.

“I'm just so thankful that they landed and they got here safe," said Ashley Gomes, the girlfriend of one of the guardsmen. "Even though it was a long time waiting for him from afar, at least I get to still see him. I'm just happy that he's home."

Watching hug after hug, guardsmen say that it's experiences like these that make the job worth it.

"The reuniting feeling -- whether it's with a brand new baby, or a family where you see the dad get down on his knees, all the kids come running around -- I feel that emotion," Lt. Col. Kevin Larsen said. "It's good to know they've gone and done their jobs and now they're back with their families. That's the most important part."