Local troops in NJ Army Nat'l Guard return home

Sunday, January 11, 2015
VIDEO: Local troops in NJ Army Nat'l Guard return home
A dozen members of the New Jersey Army National Guard who returned home after almost a year-long deployment in Southwest Asia.

BORDENTOWN, N.J. (WPVI) -- There was a round of applause for a dozen members of Detachment 19, the Operational Support Airlift Command of the New Jersey Army National Guard.

These pilots and support personnel returned recently from an almost year-long deployment to Southwest Asia.

"It's great to be home to see my kids and family. I missed them dearly and it's pretty interesting to see how fast they've grown and the changes that've happened while we were away," said Staff Sergeant Kalil O'Neal.

This unit of citizen-soldiers flew thousands of missions up and down the Arabian Gulf transporting 90,000 pounds of cargo and over 2,000 personnel.

"Third time for most of them to be over there and we're just happy to have them back safe and sound with no incidents. It's a challenging environment to fly over there," said Brigadier General Michael Cuniff, New Jersey Adjutant General.

Family members watched as General Cuniff pinned distinguished service medals on all of those returning.

In his remarks General Cuniff made sure to thank the family members of the unit, saying they have served their country as much as anyone in uniform.

"It's probably a more difficult adjustment for the families as we come home and try to fall back into our regular routine, which we're anxious to do, but it's an adjustment for the families," said Chief Warrant Officer Glenn Malin.

The flags serve as a daily reminder that the nation and the state of New Jersey had each and every one of these brave soldiers in their hearts.

And as for that adjustment to civilian life, for the members of this Army Aviation Support Unit it is one they're eager to make - until duty calls again.