By: Kate Pabich
They spent 9 months away from their families serving our country in Kuwait. Now,they're reuniting one last time for some special recognition.
Members of the 444th Chemical Company of Galesburg say it was bittersweet. The 9 months they spent overseas brought them together and now that their duty has ended, it's time for goodbyes.
But not before the 115 men and women of their National Guard unit were recognized for their success overseas. State leaders including, Congresswoman Bustos were there to shake the hands of each soldier.
The group was at Camp Virginia in Kuwait up until the end of December. Officials say they saved $500,000 in government contracts for the work they completed.
Staff Sergeant Darren Hackett says the company became family over during that time.
"A huge brotherhood, brother and sister, everyone got to know each other
we've had people cry on each other's shoulders we've stayed the night in each other's rooms just to hang out and be with a family since we were away from our real families."
But now being back in Illinois, he says it's time to say their goodbyes, since the company is made up of units all across the state, and it's tough.
"This is the last time, so it's just a whole different ball of emotion just saying goodbye to everyone knowing we might not see these people again."
They say it was a great way to have their last hoorah, and although they'll miss the family they have each found in the 444th Company, one thing's for sure. They're glad to be home.
Along with the recognition, each soldier was given a flag and a commemorative coin.