Oklahoma National Guard Soldiers Return Home Monday
OKLAHOMA CITY - More than 200 members of the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team were back on Oklahoma soil Monday morning.
Two-hundred-twenty-four Oklahoma National Guard soldiers arrived at 10 a.m. at Will Rogers Air National Guard Base in Oklahoma City. The soldiers boarded buses in the middle of the night in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and rode all night to get to Oklahoma.
Their families, Gov. Mary Fallin and members of the state's Washington delegation greeted them when they arrived.
For the loved ones, it was not only a day of joy, but relief. For one family it was all that, times two. John Farrow had two sons, his only two sons, serving in Afghanistan.
"In one way it was bad, knowing the worst could happen to both of them," said Farrow.
Jake is the oldest, Justin is the youngest. They would agree going to war, next to your brother can be a mixed blessing.
"It was hard at times because you had another person to worry about," said Justin. "Especially with him being your brother, but it was a blessing in the off-time."
"It was good to have him there," said Jake. "When I was down, he was there to help me get back up."
The fact that they're both home was not lost. Fourteen soldiers in the 45th won't have a homecoming, their families won't have this moment.
The family of Sgt. Michael Prince who was killed in September still came to Monday's event.
"For me to have both my sons is a true blessing," said John Farrow.
Most of the soldiers who returned Monday were out of the 179th based in Stillwater. The soldiers were serving in Afghanistan. Their mission was full-spectrum operations, which included direct combat.
Nearly 2,200 Oklahoma Army National Guard members from the 45th deployed to Afghanistan in June 2011, while another 800 were sent to Kuwait.
More than half the brigade is still serving overseas, but those members are expected to return to Oklahoma in the coming weeks. In fact, more soldiers return Tuesday.