Soldiers of the 115th Field Artillery Brigade are greeted with cheers as they exit off the plane in Cheyenne Saturday.
Hundreds of friends and family members lined up on the tarmac at the Wyoming Air National Guard Base in Cheyenne Saturday holding hand-decorated signs.
“Welcome Home Daddy,” one little girl’s sign said, while other children held American flags flapping in the wind as they excitedly awaited the arrival of a single airplane bringing home the Air National Guard 115th Artillery Brigade.
Around noon, the plane landed and taxied to the area where the eager, patriotic welcome committee stood and cheered.
The crowd erupted in applause as the plane door opened and the first solider deboarded. Family members choked back tears as soldiers stepped off the plane, running to find their respective friends and family. Hugs ensued as the soldiers were welcomed home after months of being deployed abroad.
For many families, it was the first time they saw their soldier in over a year.
The Brigade had been scheduled to return home in early June, but their return was delayed due to COVID-19. The men and women have been actively serving our country stationed in the Middle East and other bases across the world.
One Campbell County resident stood with her family and friends as she desperately searched the uniformed soldiers to spot her 25-year-old brother, CPL Grant Byelich, Air Traffic Control Specialist.
“I looked over at my dad, as we watched the soldiers hug their children for the first time,” she said. “I saw tears stream down his face, and I immediately started crying, overwhelmed by emotions. Finally, I saw my brother.”
She stepped off the curb and embraced him in a hug.
Seven of the soldiers who returned to Wyoming on Saturday are from Campbell County including SSG Thomas Albin, 1SG Eric Hanson, SGT Jesse Svalina, CPL Robert Perry III, SGT Karisa Abelseth, SGT Lauren Montgomery and PV2 Connor Sarver.