OSHKOSH - The guardsmen from Battery 'B' of the 121st Field Artillery were gone for ten months and Friday, family and friends waited anxiously in a hanger on the EAA grounds to welcome them home.
It was cold and grey Friday when these National Guardsmen got off their bus in Oshkosh.
Once inside, family and friends brought the sunshine.
"It's definitely good to be back home," said 1st Lieutenant David Kranz.
"It's been a long time. So I'm happy to be home," said Sergeant Steven Vlietstra.
During the reunions it was hard to tell who was happier: the returning soldiers or their families?
"Awesome! So happy," said David's wife Katie Kranz.
"Feels wonderful," said Steven's wife Stephanie Vlietstra.
These soldiers are part of the Wisconsin National Guard's 121st Field Artillery. They ran support missions in Afghanistan for the last 10 months.
For the soldiers it was not easy to be away so long.
This was the longest time 1st Lieutenant David Kranz was away from his wife of two years.
"I guess I'll admit the most difficult part is not being able to see my wife every day," said David Kranz.
It wasn't much easier on the homefront.
"It's challenging to go home and go to bed and not see him in the morning and...I'm not gonna cry!" said Katie Kranz.
For Sergeant Steven Vlietstra, this is only the second time he's seen his baby George in person.
"It's really cool. He's grown up quite a bit since we left," said Steven Vlietstra.
And back at home Steven's wife Stephanie made sure George wouldn't forget his father.
"I think he recognizes his voice and things, there's no doubt in my mind. I had him trained to say 'dada' pretty good," said Stephanie Vlietstra.
Now that the hellos have been said and happy tears cried, there's more to look forward to.
"Some real food would be nice!" said Steven Vlietstra.
"I am most excited to have a good, old Wisconsin brat again and sleep in my own bed," said David Kranz.
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