Hugs and Kisses Welcome Connecticut Guardsmen Home
By Deborah Straszheim
August 26, 2010
110 soldiers return from Iraq
WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. — For the last eight months, 3-year-old Charlie Macy played army men with his father via the video camera.
Spc. Brian Macy, of Pawcatuck, was in Iraq, and he’d turn on the video at least once a week and visit with his son. Then one day, for no apparent reason, the child asked what it meant to die.
“Charlie wanted to be reassured,” his grandfather, Andrew Macy, said. “He got off (the Web) and said, ‘Daddy told me he’s going to come home.’ ”
On Wednesday, Charlie ran through the legs of adults into the arms of his father, who returned on a plane to the Army Aviation Support Facility with 110 Army National Guard soldiers.
At least 800 people, many waving American flags, cheered outside a hangar decorated with red, white and blue balloons as the plane’s door opened and soldiers stepped outside.
The 250th Engineer Company, of New London, left Connecticut in November 2009, trained at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin, then traveled to Iraq in January. The troops built and took down bridges in various parts of the country.
They came home three months early, in keeping with a decision to reduce troops in Iraq. President Barack Obama set a goal of ending the combat portion of the mission by Tuesday.
Sara Anne Williams of Norwich, waited for her son, Staff Sgt. Adam King, 28.
“I’m just thankful to God that he’s back safe,” she said.
Before he left, she said she attended a pre-deployment meeting about what to expect and learned that if something terrible happened to her son, a clergyman and officer would visit her.
She told everyone she knew not to send her e-mail about the military. She watched some reports on television, but turned them off if she got scared.
“It’s been horrific, horrifying for me,” she said.
But she said she never questioned her son’s choice to join.
“Adam makes very intelligent decisions,” she said. “I don’t second-guess him, because he thinks things through.”
Elsewhere in the crowd, Sgt. Bruce Palmer, 24, of Woodstock, hugged his daughter.
She was learning to crawl when he left. She ran to him Wednesday.
“There are no amount of words that can describe the emotion when you come off the plane and see your family standing there waiting for you,” he said.
Macy, 26, held his son.
“It hit me right away when I saw my boy,” he said, as the child hung onto his neck. “It’s crazy. He’s changed so much.
“I see how tall he is now. It seems like he’s really growing up.”