164 Local Soldiers Welcomed Home

Posted at 5:40 PM, Mar 09, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-09 22:58:26-05

KALAMAZOO, Mich,– It seemed like a never ending stream of soldiers.

“There is a lot of emotion, a lot of wondering what it’s going to be like, was a lot of change since they’ve been gone. What’s been the same,”

Saturday afternoon, 164 soldiers with the 507 Engineering Battalion returned home, after serving over a year in Afghanistan. While they were there, they did everything from putting together and taking apart bridges to clearing the road of IED devices.

“They have worked very hard. They were working 7 days a week over there, working long, long days doing very dangerous things. They were over there fighting for us, so it’s very important that we give them a warm welcome and thank them for what they do,” Captain Patrick Wilk, U.S. Army said.

Their plane landed around 1:50pm at the Kalamazoo Airport.  Captain Wilk says he’s worked with many of the returning soldiers, and was excited to see their faces when they got off the plane.

“Half of those soldiers were my soldiers. I use to be their commander. So seeing them again was really good, they look really good. Some have been promoted, some are bigger because they have been working out, and some are smaller because they have been working out. They all look really good. They look happy to be home,”

One by one, they got off the plane, and slowly made their way to the bus that would take them to their welcome home ceremony. After that, it’s time for rest and relaxation. The soldiers are getting a nice long break before having to drill again. Captain Wilk says they’ll be back on duty in august.