All Iowa Army National Guard soldiers home from Iraq - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

All Iowa Army National Guard soldiers home from Iraq

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A soldier embraces a loved one at the Wednesday morning homecoming ceremony A soldier embraces a loved one at the Wednesday morning homecoming ceremony
DAVENPORT (KWWL) -

As of Wednesday, every Iowa Army National Guard soldier is home from Iraq.

Wednesday morning in Davenport, families welcomed back approximately 75 service members with companies B, D and E of the 2-211 General Support Aviation Battalion. This marks the end of a one-year deployment for these soldiers.

Hundreds of family members and friends gathered at the Guard's Army Aviation Support Facility at the Davenport Municipal Airport to welcome home their loved ones.

It is not without much ceremony and thanks that Iowans welcome home their soldiers.

"There's no better way for this nation to celebrate Thanksgiving than to have our soldiers home safe," one speaker at the ceremony said.

After brief remarks, the soldiers heard the words for which everybody in the room had been waiting: "Troops, dismissed!"

Patriot Guard Charlotte Stevens and her husband George have done about a dozen of these missions.

"It's so special every time," she said. "This one's just extra special."

On this particular Patriot Guard mission, her grandson CW2 Steven Farquhar was among the soldiers.

Holding his one-year-old daughter Emmalyn and kneeling down to meet the gaze of his five-year-old son Hayden, Farquhar's eyes told the unmistakable story of a man who had greatly missed his family.

"It's good," he said. "It's good to be home. I've been gone several times and been home several times. I'm happy to be home and be a family again."

His wife Jennifer said the family last saw Farquhar in May, when he was home for a visit. She said she looks forward to having help with the two kids.

"It's been a roller coaster of a year," she said. "I finished school, started working full time, and, yeah, I'm ready for him to be home."

These particular soldiers marked a chapter for the Iowa Army National Guard, public information officer Col. Greg Hapgood said.

"This is history in the making today," he said. "This unit was the first unit to go to Iraq from the Iowa National Guard in 2003, and now they're the last Iowa unit to leave Iraq, so, really, history's come full circle today."

The soldiers were charged with flying and maintaining CH-47D "Chinook" helicopters. Logging more than 7,500 hours of flight time in the past year, the soldiers helped move personnel and equipment, conduct air assault operations and perform humanitarian missions.

The soldiers came to Davenport from Fort Hood, Texas, where they went through out processing.

There are still about 75 Iowa Army National Guard soldiers in Afghanistan, Hapgood said. They're at Bagram Airfield, and they're Airmen out of Des Moines.

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