Nearly 300 Springfield-based soldiers back home after 11-month deployment

The 371st Sustainment Brigade, based in Springfield, returned home today after nearly a yearlong tour in Southwest Asia.

The roughly 280 men and women of the U.S. Army Ohio National Guard were welcomed back in a ceremony Saturday afternoon at First Christian Church in Springfield.

>> 280 Springfield guard members to return home after mission in Asia

The reunion was an emotional one for many.

Kevin Duly was happily back together with his wife, Meredith, and infant son, Jackson.

“When I left my wife was five months pregnant, had the baby in August so he’s 7 months old, so even more excited to come back to a family of three,” Kevin Duly said.

He was able to take two weeks of leave, and returned just in time; Jackson was born the night the Perrysburg, Ohio, soldier made it back. Now, he’ll be able to finally experience full-time fatherhood, and add some needed support for his wife.

>> Ohio National Guard brigade based in Springfield set to deploy

“Me for seven months, being a single parent, and being able to now include Kevin and everything and make memories instead of over technology is beyond ecstatic,” Meredith Duly said.

“We were able to Skype and video chat, got a lot of pictures and video; it made it a little easier but it wasn’t the same,” Kevin Duly said.

During his deployment Duly had a familiar face: his brother, Jason, also of northern Ohio, is a member of the 371st, too.

All soldiers deployed made it home safe, said Col. Gregg Betts, brigade commander.

“My soldiers did an outstanding job accomplishing their mission,” he said.

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