MANSFIELD– It was an emotional scene for more than 160 members of the Ohio National Guard’s 1486th Transportation Company.
1200 people were on hand to greet their loved ones with warm embraces at the 179th Airlift Wing, on Harrington Memorial Road.
“Come on!” Someone shouted that to the speaker during the ceremony, as they just couldn’t wait to squeeze the neck of their long awaited family member.
“It’s so good to be home,” said Sgt. Robert Johnson. “I’m going to spend a long time with my kids and my wife.”
His children made a cardboard cut-out of him and took him everywhere over the past 11 months. “Flat Daddy” they called it.
He was there for birthdays and Christmas as a cardboard cut-out. It was funny, but in a way it helped his 7-year old daughter and 9-year old son cope without their father being at big events.
The “1486,” as they’re called, finished their tactical supply and transportation operations in Afghanistan. But that’s all finished for now. This moment is for family and a warm embrace.
“The toughest part about being away from my family is worrying about them back home,” said Johnson. “Staying connected online helped and knowing I would see them soon got me through it.”
Most of these soldiers will take the next month off, then it’s back to drill.