Welcome Home!

By: Alana Adams
By: Alana Adams

Company D, 113th Aviation unit of the guard was welcomed home with open arms and the thought of not leaving again, at least for a long, long time.
The guardsmen were quick to celebrate with the families they left in January of last year.

James Schlauch spread out his hugs of welcome between family and friends for several minutes before catching his breath.
"I can't even put it into words. It's the best feeling I've had in 15 months."

Quite a bit has happened in Schlauch's life in the last 15 months though.
Between goodbyes and time in Afghanistan, he was able to make a quick trip home last July to propose to his girlfriend, Chelsea Sidener.

Now she says she's excited to enjoy their engagement together, in the same country.
"It is so great. I can't even describe how great it feels. To not have to worry about him and be able to see him everyday is going to be amazing."

This family is no stranger to the military service, especially since two of the family members served in Afghanistan together.
Schlauch'' uncle, Gary Schlauch, is also a member of the Nevada Guard.
"That made it a little more bearable. It's nice to have family there and have someone to talk to and relate to when friends aren't quite enough sometimes."

Greg Schlauch is James' father and Gary's brother.
He says it was actually easier knowing both were together.
"It's been rewarding, it really has. Being a military family and have two come home, it's so satisfying to know that they're safe and that we're going to have lots and lots of wings tonight!"

The crowd shared the same enthusiasm just knowing that life was about to get a little back to normal.
And, each guardsman and their family knew exactly what to do next.

7-year-old Chloe Rodarte says she wants to let her dad know how much she missed him.
"I want to say I really missed you and I love you."

Chloe's mother, Jessica, says she could barely believe she made it through an entire year without her husband.
"He actually wants home cooking. He wants his mom's cooking, my cooking. He just wants to be home. He doesn't really want to go anywhere. He just wants to enjoy being home, see his kids."

Five soldiers from this unit were killed in combat, including Chief Warrant Officer John Flynn and Sergeant Patrick Stewart, both from Northern Nevada.
Their presence was noted and missed during Saturday's homecoming celebration.


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