One-hundred and five soldiers from the 174th MAC UNIT, a division of the Army National Guard are back home in the Carolinas for the holidays. The men and women have been training at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, for deployment next month to Afghanistan.
Local community members held fundraisers, and with the help of a donation from Lowe’s, they were able to rent the buses to bring the soldiers home.
A newlywed expressed her excitement as she waited for the buses. “The day after Christmas will actually be three months since we were married. So I’m extremely excited. I’m ready for him to be home. And even if it’s a little bit of time that I get to see him before he goes to Afghanistan, that’s better than nothing, and it means the world to me.”
A mother says it was what her children had asked for this Christmas. “It’s the best gift that we can get. I have a 9 year old son and a 7 year old daughter and that’s what they asked Santa for this Christmas. And they’re going to get their gift. All we want is him home -just to be with us. That’s the best gift we can have!”
As soldiers stepped off the bus, their enthusiasm was evident. “This is the biggest, greatest gift that we can get. The fact that Lowe’s and the state and the community got together and brought us home on their dime meant more to our soldiers than anything. So this means the world! This is Christmas.”
It was an overnight trip from Wisconsin for the soldiers, and as the buses arrived in South Carolina, they were escorted by a motorcade. A welcome home ceremony was held this morning at the Lowe’s store in Spartanburg.
Once the buses arrived at the Lowe’s parking lot, employees were lined up, standing with flags to greet them. The soldiers families were at the end of the line.
The soldiers will return to duty on January 2nd. They are expected to be deployed in mid January for 12-14 months.