781st welcomed home

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 9, 2004

The 781st National Guard unit out of Butler County finally got a chance to celebrate their return properly Saturday.

The unit gathered in Georgiana at the armory Saturday morning to celebrate their return with family and friends at a barbecue.

The unit had a long road to travel before being reunited with family and friends.

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The unit was deployed last March where they stayed in Iraq until November.

They then moved to Kuwait through March of this year.

Even when they arrived back in the United States the unit could not be immediately dismissed.

They remained at Fort Benning from March 31 through April 9 before returning to Butler County.

Loved ones and family members at Saturday’s barbecue were not concerned with how long it took. They were just happy to have them back.

Christy Eady, whose father Rocky served with the unit, hoped that this was the last time he would have to be away.

&uot;I feel great because I get to see him every day again,&uot; said Eady. &uot;I hope he never has to leave again.&uot;

The soldiers who returned home were also happy to be reunited. They were grateful for the support given while they were deployed.

&uot;I would just like to thank the county and churches for supporting us and praying for us,&uot; said Staff Sgt. Yvonne Williams. &uot;Without that it would have been a lot harder.&uot;

Williams said the thought of returning to their families was on everyone’s mind.

&uot;Our mission was to get back to our families,&uot; said Williams.

&uot;We just want to thank everyone for the support.&uot;

William’s husband Ed said these troops deserved a big pat on the back.

&uot;These troops deserve a lot of recognition,&uot; said Ed Williams. &uot;This is the second time they have gone. We are just glad to have them back. They really deserve all the recognition they get.&uot;

The unit has displayed their courage in times of conflict on more than one occasion.

This is the second time the unit has had to leave their families behind to defend their country.

There were no complaints at the barbecue however, just smiles and good food.

Unfortunately, for the unit some of its members were not able to join the celebration.

Some of the members of the unit still remain at Fort Benning.

The unit will be able to relax until July 10 when they have their first official drill.

Right now, the main concern of the unit is spending as much time with their families as possible.

They will spend their time catching up on the last year and getting back into the routine of civilian life.