Pa. guards return home after 9-month mission

A nine-month wait for the families of about 125 Pennsylvania National Guard soldiers came to an end Thursday as members of the 1-104th Cavalry Squadron, 55th Armor Brigade returned from a deployment to Kuwait.

The soldiers returned to home armories in Harrisburg and Fort Indiantown Gap, as well as Philadelphia and Wilkes-Barre.

Sarah Hanner said she had butterflies for two weeks before her husband, Sgt. John Hanner, stepped off a bus in Harrisburg.

“It was incredible,” she said. “I didn't think I would cry, but I cried a little bit. You don't know what to expect.”

Sgt. Hanner said he really started counting the days once he was stateside.

“I'm anxious to get back home and relax a little bit and spend time with family,” he said.

Hanner's family grew while he was away. His 9-month-old niece was born weeks after he shipped out.

The soldiers, the sixth group from the 55th Armor Brigade to return home, conducted base operations and security missions at military installations in the Middle East.

Several more groups of Pennsylvania National Guard members are scheduled to return over the next few months.


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