Fifteen California National Guardsmen were welcomed home Sunday after a nine month deployment in Afghanistan.
“This rings in the end of the era in the war on terrorism for the California National Guard Aviation,” Major Daniel Anderson said.
Major Anderson said the guardsmen have flown 70,000 hours between Turkey, Iraq and Afghanistan, with no losses on the army side since 2003.
“Something happens over there, and you hear about it ,and you want to make sure its not your kid,” Melanie Weaver said.
She was waiting for her 26-year-old son, Sergeant Cody Weaver to land at the Sacramento International Airport.
“You get moments when you’re frightened,” she said.
Sunday, after worrying about her son for a year, a moment of pure joy.
“It’s surreal. I’ve never met my son before. So seeing him for the first time is really amazing,” Sgt. Weaver said.
Sgt. Weaver missed his wife’s entire pregnancy while deployed in Afghanistan.
“He was serving for us, so I felt like I just had to do the same at home,” Jennifer Weaver said.
The Weaver family says that service accomplished something so much greater.
“This unit, because of the 2008 deployment and the standards that they set in medicine, treatment, and response time, changed what the army does,” Major Anderson said.
Major Anderson said when the National Guardsmen deployed over seas and went into combat, they had professional paramedics in the aircraft providing life saving medicine. The army decided to train their troops to the same paramedic standards.
“There is no words to describe when somebody comes up to you and thanks you for saving their life and getting them off the battlefield,” Sgt. Weaver said.