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Guardsmen returning from Afghanistan receive hero’s welcome

Staff Sgt. Norman E. Bauer Jr., 111th Maintenance Sq., is met by wife Bethany and son Matthew upon returning to Willow Grove ARS, Pa. from a deployment to Afghanistan on Sept. 20.

Staff Sgt. Norman E. Bauer Jr., 111th Maintenance Sq., is met by wife Bethany and son Matthew upon returning to Willow Grove ARS, Pa. from a deployment to Afghanistan on Sept. 20.

Friends and family cheer, wave flags and welcome home signs as guardsmen from the 111th Fighter Wing, Pa. Air National Guard, return to Willow Grove ARS, Pa. Sept. 20 from a deployment to Afghanistan.

Friends and family cheer, wave flags and welcome home signs as guardsmen from the 111th Fighter Wing, Pa. Air National Guard, return to Willow Grove ARS, Pa. Sept. 20 from a deployment to Afghanistan.

WILLOW GROVE AIR RESERVE STATION, Pa. -- -- Approx. 200 guardsmen deployed to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan returned home safety to Willow Grove ARS in three waves from Sept. 20-25. No matter day or night they were treated like celebrities with hugs and kisses, large signs crafted by families and friends, and interviewed by a variety of media outlets. A sigh of relief and happiness could be felt across the crowds at the homecoming, a stark contrast to the anxious, reserved farewell just two months prior. While the possibility of future deployments is speculative, this mission was a huge success.