Members of the Air National Guard Return Home

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It was a special start to the Memorial Day weekend, for 30 local families: Their loved ones returned home from Iraq.

A contingent from the Nevada Air National Guard returned from their latest tour in the Middle East Friday afternoon. The only tears shed, were tears of joy.

The Air Guard C-130 was still 45 minutes out, as family members began gathering. There were flags and uniforms, and an air of anticipation.

Finally after the plane landed, taxied and parked. Soon there were happy faces and hugs all around. This detachment was returning from tours of 2 to 4 months flying missions in Iraq. Their replacements, 30 others from the Nevada Air Guard are already there, picking up their jobs. That means 30 other families are waiting for homecomings just like this.

More than one of the returning air guard members told KOLO 8 News they think their tours in Iraq are harder on their families than it is on them. Fortunately, their rotation schedules are brief.

Colonel Jon Proehl says with some pride he's never had to order anyone to serve over there. They've all volunteered and they're doing well. He notes the Air Guard has a mission readiness record of 95%. That means only 1 in 20 sorties is cancelled for whatever reason. The regular Air Force manages about 70 percent. They're doing a good job.

Ed Pearce, KOLO 8 News