Hometown heroes welcomed home

Posted at: 12/21/2013 11:34 PM
Updated at: 12/22/2013 12:21 AM
By: Nicole Hart

LATHAM -- After spending almost a year in Qatar, some local soldiers are home just in time for the holidays. These soldiers have been back in the United States for a couple of weeks, preparing for their final journey home to the Capital Region. They spent a majority of their day, Saturday, on a bus traveling from Rochester where they dropped off the rest of their unit. Now another journey begins for them as they are welcomed home.

One-year-old Hunter and his dad Jason wait for Hunter's uncle to arrive at the New York State Armory in Latham. This holiday homecoming is a secret for most of the family.

"His mother has no idea that he's coming home. So I came to get him and we're all going to this party, which no one has any idea. So it's going to be pretty cool," said Jason Barno.

As the bus rolled in, seven members of the New York Army National Guard's 222nd Military Police Company are home in the Capital Region.

After being overseas himself, Sgt. Brian Tangorre says he knows what these soldiers are going through.

"They want to see their families. It's the most important thing. They're happy to be home, they're glad they've served their country, but they want to see their families," Tangorre said.

Jonathan Watson of Catskill is one of our hometown heroes. He says he is looking forward to seeing his family and his girlfriend. He is also ready for a hot shower and to return to work at the Catskill Police Department.

"I feel honored to serve the people of the United States," Watson said, "and it just feels good to be back."

Back just in time to be around those who matter when it matters most.

"The Army recognizes that and they want to make sure they get them home before Christmas if they could and we were able to, so we made sure we could do that for them," Tangorre explained.

Now the most important thing for these soldiers is to readjust to civilian life. They will go through the Army's Yellow Ribbon Process to help them do just that.