Members of the Indiana National Guard's 38th Infantry Division, 38th Main Support Battalion, who were previously stationed in Iraq, unexpectedly arrived home on several flights into Indianapolis International Airport Saturday and Sunday. The soldiers, who spent their time during their deployment training the Iraqi police force and performing security missions, were met at the airport by their family members.
"We are so glad our troops have safely returned home," 1st Sgt. Neil Stough said about being caught off guard by the 49 soldiers, 19 from the Brazil area, returning home. "We knew they were coming, but we were unsure of when they would be released from being demobilized at Camp Shelby, Miss. We didn't know anything until late Friday."
The quick release made travel arrangements difficult for the entire unit difficult, according to Stough. Soldiers caught individual flights that allowed them to get as close to home as they could in the shortest amount of time, which didn't give the local unit much time to arrange a homecoming celebration.
Soldiers started to arrive on various flights beginning at 11:45 a.m. Saturday with the last arriving at approximately 7:30 p.m., Sunday.
"Not all of them flew into Indianapolis, some flew into other airports closer to their homes," Stough said, adding that details of who was home would not be available at this time. "They are home with their families, and that is all we care about."
The soldiers have a 90-day adjustment period before they are required to report back to the unit, according to Stough.
Considered on active duty with the guard until the end of that time period, Stough said soldiers would have to make individual arrangements with their employers about returning to work or choose to return to active service.
"But now it's time for the soldiers and their families to readjust," Stough said. "I'm so glad they are home."
Stough said it would be January before any homecoming celebration for the unit will happen.
"We had so much community involvement when the unit left," Stough said. "We definitely want them involved in the homecoming."