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Families Welcome Army National Guard Members Home

Posted: 5:04 PM, Dec 08, 2017
Updated: 2017-12-08 23:04:39Z

BROKEN ARROW -- A heartwarming welcome home for nearly 120 Oklahoma Army National Guard members after spending the last six months training in Ukraine.

Carmen Jefferson hasn't seen her husband in six months. Their daughter, Sophia, is now 11 months old.

"As a mother and father to be separated like that it's really difficult but we made it through, a lot of prayer, a lot of family support," said Jefferson.

Her husband, Lt. Carl Jefferson, was one of the nearly 120 Oklahoma Army National Guard members who trained in Ukraine the past six months. For this young family, it was their first deployment.

"You're prepped as much as you can and then those things, the challenges that you go through you pull on those people that are there for you, that will life your arms if you will," said Jefferson.

Loved ones eagerly waited with their welcome home signs in hand, ready to bring their family member home.

"I'm excited to see him, we've done lots without him and we're ready to have him home," said Kelly Urban who was waiting to see her husband with her two sons.

It's a toll not only spouses take, but kids as well.

"It's sad...because he hasn't been there," said Urban's son, Daxton.

Warm embraces filled the room at the Broken Arrow Armed Forces Reserve Center for the ceremony on Friday.

Lt. Jefferson was very happy to see his baby girl.

"She's gotten a lot bigger so I'm just glad to be back, we'll do a lot of good things and it's time to relax so now I'm looking forward to getting on and relaxing," said Lt. Jefferson.

While it is difficult to be separated, the work they did for Ukrainian Forces, including increasing internet to improve communication and mentoring the staff, made it worth it.

"Things were better when we left so I think that's alright to say," said Lt. Jefferson.

Loved ones welcomed home nearly 120 members of the 1st Battalion, 279th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Oklahoma Army National Guard. The unit deployed to Ukraine as part of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine where they provided training support for Ukrainian Forces within the U.S. Security Cooperation Agreements.

They are the final group of the second six-month rotation to Ukraine. Each six-month rotation consisted of approximately 250 soldiers.

 

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