SALISBURY, Md. – More than 70 members of the Maryland National Guard's 115th Military Police Battalion are officially home, for the first time since October 31st, 2012.
"Up high, in the sky, there are no words, no words to describe what we feel today," says Lynne Brag, wife of Lieutenant Major Merle Bragg.
Lynne says this is not Lieutenant Major Bragg's first deployment, but that did not make it any easier.
"It seemed long, they've been gone longer, but it was a tough one this time."
The unit, made up of many Wicomico County Sheriff's deputies, deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. They served as advisors and mentors to the Afghan National Police, and helped to build Afghanistan's domestic security forces. The unit was greeted Wednesday with a motorcycle escort in Easton, with about 70 motorcycles, that followed them all the way to the Salisbury National Guard Armory for the big reunion.
"We've been planning this ever since they left," says Lieutenant Colonel Charles Kohler with the Maryland National Guard. "There's been a tremendous amount of community support."
For some, like the Booth family, this was more than a reunion. First Lieutenant Jason Booth found out that his wife Danielle was pregnant right before he left, and could only watch the birth through technology.
"Through most of her labor they were talking back and forth, so we kind of felt like he was there even though he wasn't really there," says Cora Booth, Lieutenant Jason Booth's mother.
On Wednesday, Lieutenant Booth met his son Joey for the first time.
"It's the greatest feeling in the world," says Lieutenant Booth.
For his wife, it was a very long deployment.
"It's been crazy," says Danielle Booth. "But, now he's home, so we're all excited. We're looking forward to time off, family time, and getting to know each other again."
For many of the family, friends, and loved ones, one of the best parts about Wednesday, was the fact that every member of the unit made it home, safe and sound.
"This unit is like a family to all of us, and to have all of them here is just happiness beyond words," says Cora.
A ton of local military-support groups in the area came out to help with the homecoming, including Operation We Care, a group that shipped two rounds of care packages to the unit while they were deployed. Although the 115th Military Police Battalion unit is already back home safe, the organization can still use help. To find out how you can contribute, visit their website.
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