Connecticut National Guard soldiers celebrate homecoming - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Connecticut National Guard soldiers celebrate homecoming

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The ceremony recognized the accomplishments of 65 men and women. (WFSB) The ceremony recognized the accomplishments of 65 men and women. (WFSB)
GROTON, CT (WFSB) -

Just in time for the holidays, a unit of soldiers from the Connecticut National Guard were officially welcomed home Sunday after a year-long tour overseas.

The ceremony, which was held at the Groton base, recognized the accomplishments of 65 men and women.

Channel 3's Eva Zymaris spoke with the soldiers and their families, who said they are grateful to be back with their loved ones.

"To me, this is what it's all about," National Guard pilot Joshua Paille said.

He couldn't wait to hold his baby boy once again.

Paille was deployed to Afghanistan and Kuwait for 11 months.

"I was fortunate enough to be somewhere where I had no internet connection most of the time. It was decent, it was something...and I got to see my kid growing up," Paille said.

He was one of 65 soldiers who make up the 1109th theater aviation sustainment maintenance group.

They were officially welcomed home in a formal 'freedom salute' ceremony at the ceremony at the unit's facility in Groton Sunday morning.

"It's actually nice to get back for one last time as that particular group...you don't get to see each other as much, so it's nice to get together," said Kelleher.

Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman and Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal were on hand to offer remarks to the unit, and to shake these soldiers' hands after they received their prestigious awards and medals.

As these soldiers said, while they're happy to be home for the holidays, they're thinking of those men and women who are still overseas.

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