HARTFORD (CBS Connecticut) _ More than 275 members of three Connecticut National Guard units have been welcomed home in a formal ceremony at the O’Neill State Armory.
It’s expected to be the last sizable ceremony of its kind in Connecticut, as combat operations in Afghanistan are phased out.
Currently nine Connecticut soldiers and 11 airmen remain deployed in Southwest Asia.
Governor Malloy thanked the service members and their families and said the state has a debt to each of them.
“The job of the State of Connecticut is not complete until each one of you is well and happy and getting the services that you require,” said Malloy. “That is the least we can do for the sacrifices that you and your families have made.”
Also on hand were Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, as well as Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty.
The 143rd Combat Support Sustainment Battalion of Waterbury, the 1048th Transportation Company of Enfield and B Company of the 2nd Battalion of the 104th Aviation Regiment of Windsor Locks all returned to Connecticut in recent months.
Purple Hearts were awarded to two servicemen who were wounded in an attack in southern Afghanistan – Staff Sgt. Alex Seretny of Windham and Spec. Michael Peterson of Weymouth, Mass.
“It’s just an honor, I served with a great company, I had great leadership and I’m just glad everyone made it home in one piece,” Peterson said.
Twenty soldiers were awarded the Bronze Star.