WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) — The Ohio National Guard welcomed home 130 soldiers from the 838th Military Police Company during a gathering Friday night at Packard Music Hall.
The soldiers were returning home from Afghanistan. Family members haven’t seen the soliders in nearly a year. There were tears, kisses and lots of hugs for the military men and women.
Danny Harris’ family wore custom-made t-shirts to welcome home their soldier. Danny’s dad, Jim Harris, was afraid he wouldn’t recognize his son, but he knew him as soon as he looked in his eyes.
“It feels like I’m dreaming. It’s like we have waited so long,” said Tammy Harris, Danny’s mom. “There are no words to explain how you feel when you can touch your kids and know that they’re safe. When they are far away, all you can do is pray and hope.”
This was Danny’s first deployment. The unit he was in provided 24-hour-a-day critical site security and force protection operations at various locations throughout Afghanistan. During their deployment, unit soldiers successfully processed more than 75,000 vehicles through numerous military installation access control points they manned, without incident.
The unit’s mission in Afghanistan also included supporting detainee operations and transport, conducting more than 150 combat convoys and providing security details for civilian contractors and staff.
Now that Danny is home, the Harris family has some special things lined up for their son.
“We’ve got our Christmas tree up and his Christmas gift ready to go,” said Jim Harris.
The Harris family and others waiting for loved ones also got a special surprise, the company arrived back town almost an hour before they were scheduled.