131 Michigan National Guard Soldiers Return from Afghanistan

By: Anthony Sabella Email
By: Anthony Sabella Email

The excitement started as soon as the buses rolled in.

It continued to build as the 131 soldiers of the 1461st Transportation Company marched into the Jackson Lumen Christi High School gym, marking their return from Afghanistan.

For the family of Spc. Dustin Williams, the breaking point came when they finally saw their soldier.

"It's a shock, surprise...I don't know, it hasn't really hit yet, I guess," Williams' sister, Melanie Kirkland.

For Williams, the true excitement came when he saw his children, three-year-old Ethan and two-year-old Aubrey.

"When I left, they weren't even sitting up all the way," he said. "It was hard to keep it together."

Before they were able to see their families, the 1461st stood in a block on the gym floor as Capt. Melody Taylor, of Canton, proudly talked about her unit's work overseas.

"We hauled things, like tanks," said Taylor. "Different types of track vehicles, different types of wheeled vehicles."

But after 146 missions and more than 120,000 miles traveled, the only thing these soldiers wanted to do was go home.

"I just wanted out of formation to be honest," said Pfc. Kera Cameron, of Jackson, on waiting to see her family. "It was kind of hard, but I knew it would be over quick."

There are still more than 400 Michigan National Guard soldiers deployed worldwide.

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