Second Wave Of National Guards Return Home

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It was an emotional day for military families in our area as hundreds of national guardsmen and women returned home after serving roughly a year overseas.

About 50 men and women returned home here this morning; about 100 more returned this evening at the National Guard Armory in Scranton.

It was a hero's homecoming for roughly one hundred national guardsmen and women here in Scranton.

For their waiting families, they could barely contain their excitement.

“Oh, I’m so proud, my truck was covered in paint and then it rained and washed it all off,” said Sue Cook from Clarks Summit.  “I’m a proud army mom.”

As the three buses emptied out at the National Guard Armory on Olyphant Avenue, soldiers ran to loved ones with open arms.

“Oh it`s great, it`s absolutely great, it really is,” said Staff Sergeant Mike McMann from Tobyhanna Township.

These soldiers have not seen their families and friends in nearly one year, being stationed overseas in Kuwait.

Before heading to the armory, they landed here at the Wilkes-Barre Scranton International Airport, where they picked up their luggage.

For some this was their first deployment; for others, this was their last one.

“He`s been in the service for 20 years, going to be getting out now, retiring, it`s time, he`s done six deployments,” said Staff Sergeant Wayne Moody’s wife, Nedra Moody from Centre County.

Two ladder trucks, one from Coolbaugh Township, the other from Tobyhanna Township, both in Monroe County, flew this flag for SSG McMann, who is also the assistant fire chief for the Coolbaugh Township Volunteer Fire Company.

“It's a brotherhood you know, you have a brotherhood overseas, you have a brotherhood back home it's great it really is,” said McMann.

And as one soldier summed up the emotional return: “It feels great. We had a great welcome home, just ready to get out of here,” said Private First Class Jeff Kerkes of Scranton.