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Happy homecoming for more Vt. troops - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Happy homecoming for more Vt. troops

South Burlington, Vermont - December 2, 2010

The mission is nearly over. In minutes, more than 80 Green Mountain boys will touch Vermont soil-- home after spending a year fighting a war in Afghanistan.

One by one, soldiers get off the plane. But before family and friends, one more bus ride.

Then finally it's into the arms of their loved ones.

For many this is the first time they have seen their family in a year. War kept them away.

Staff Sgt. James Miller served at Combat Outpost Herrerra in the Alpha company-- one of the most kinetic and dangerous areas of combat-- searching for sites used by the Taliban to fire rockets at the outpost.

"I've been fighting the tears for a little while," mom Cathy Miller said.

This son is hugging his mother for the first time since he left a year ago. He never came home on leave.

"His heart and soul is into this," Cathy Miller said. "He's taken care of his men and everything, he's allowed them to come off their leave, he didn't take a leave this time."

"It just didn't feel right to leave my guys over there by themselves and stuff like that," Sgt. Miller said.

Miller's family received visits from guardsmen home on leave, welcome visits from a close group.

"They said your son has sacrificed a lot... for us to come home," Cathy Miller said.

Also at the homecoming, injured Green Mountain Boys like Specialist Chris Baker.

"What was going through my mind over there was to protect my boys, protect my convoy," Baker said.

Baker was injured earlier this year in Eastern Afghanistan. This homecoming means reuniting with close buddies.

"It means my boys are coming home," he said. "I can't wait to see them. I'm glad."

Baker says transitioning back into civilian life in Vermont has been challenging, but it feels good to be home.

"You can actually walk up and talk to somebody on the street; you don't have to worry about anything going on, anybody around you. Situational awareness and stuff like that," he said.

Safe and sound in the hands of loved ones.

Now we expect a much larger troop return sometime next week with approximately 300 guard members coming back to Vermont. All of the troops from the Green Mountain State are expected to be back by the end of the year.

Melinda Davenport - WCAX News

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