323rd Ohio National Guard unit re-unites with family, friends after year in Turkey

323rd Ohio National Guard unit re-unites with family, friends after year in Turkey

PERRYSBURG, OH (WTOL) - They're back home safe and sound.

Eighty members of the Toledo-based Ohio National Guard's 323rd Military Company reunited with family and friends at Cedar Creek Church on Friday.

They'd been deployed for nearly a year and are now ready to reconnect with the things they missed.

"Family, food everything," said Scott Fletcher.

Members of the MP unit were in Turkey on a security mission.

They returned stateside recently to a military base in Texas where they were debriefed.

On Friday they flew into Toledo Express Airport and were bussed to Cedar Creek for the celebration.

The unit was in Turkey in the campaign against ISIS.

They were responsible for running detention centers for captured ISIS terrorists.

These were operations conducted in support of the  U.S. Eurpoean Command in Turkey.

They were greeted with big smiles, warm hugs and long kisses.

A 'Welcome Home' sign greeted Lee Whisner next to one that read 'Now Get Back to Work.'

But Lee has something else on his mind.

"Buckeye football. Back just in time. Amen. Going to a game in a couple weeks. Can't wait to get to there," said Lee.

When Chris Geldine headed overseas, his wife Aleiah was pregnant.

Friday night, he held his baby daughter Emma Rose for the first time.

"It was nerve-wracking. You'd see pictures and videos. Now you can see the real thing" says Chris.

Chris' wife Aleiah had faith though.

"It was hard, but I knew we could make it through it. We had a baby to think of," said Aleiah.

Emily Dunning posed for a family picture.

You'll never believe what the first thing is she's going to do.

"Shave my dad's beard. Needs a shave. Been growing it since I left," said Emily.

Emily's dad Ron also looked forward to the shave and is glad she is home.

"I told her I wasn't going to cut my beard off until she came back home to me. I had a very short one," said Ron.

And it's also good to report nobody in the 323rd had a close shave with danger during their deployment in Turkey.

The 323rd has been deployed twice before, in 2003 and 2012.
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