150 Army Reserve soldiers back home after year of deployment

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HOMEWOOD, Ill. — Families from across the area were reunited Tuesday after a year apart.

One hundred and fifty Army Reserve soldiers are home after a deployment to the Middle East. But the world they’ve returned to looks very different than the one they left.

After a year-long deployment, it was a hearty homecoming in Homewood-Flossmoor High School Tuesday for 150 Army Reserve soldiers.

The unit was headquartered in Kuwait conducting missions in four countries in the Middle East to support Operation Spartan Shield. They created multiple sites for air defense artillery and construction at bases and military camps.

“We did a lot of good work out there, but it’s nothing like missing your family everyday welcome home is great to have,” Captain Kyle Healy, 317th Engineer Construction Company, said.

On Tuesday, Healy held his 3-month-old daughter for the first time. He and his wife Anna had to Facetime across continents during her labor and delivery.

The excitement was also overwhelming for the Hensley family from Lafayette, Indiana.
Katie Hensley says her heart was full seeing her son again.

And home is a lot different than when the soldiers left. In this era of COVID-19, families were spaced out with masks on. The soldiers spent the last few weeks at Fort Bliss Texas going through the demobilization and quarantine process. But Specialist Parker Hensley said his army training has taught him to adapt.

“It’s new we’ll get through it. If everyone does their part, we’ll all get through it,” he said.

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