1-189th Aviation Regiments welcomed back to South Dakota
RAPID CITY, S.D. – Family members and friends returned home, welcomed with open arms.
South Dakota Army National Guard held a Welcome Home ceremony for 1-189th Aviation Regiment Companies Charlie, Delta and Echo at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Theatre on Saturday.
The regiments served as part of Operation Spartan Shield in the Middle East, providing aeromedical evacuation support and aviation field maintenance.
Their third deployment since 2008, unit members said that nothing beats the relief of being at home.
1st Sgt. Michael Martin described a sense of fulfilled longing toward his home state.
“Being back is amazing. You really appreciate the things you have at home when you’re gone for a year,” Martin said. “Smelling the great air of South Dakota and seeing the green of it – it’s difficult to put into words, except to say it is great to be home.”
Having spent so much time overseas, there were things that they missed from America.
Maj. Anthony Timanus said that American-made food was an often-missed luxury.
“I probably put on another five pounds when I got back just because I had to hit all my favorite restaurants, but I got that out of my system,” Timanus said.
The regiments left just before the holidays in 2017. They came back just in time to celebrate with loved ones in 2018.
“For my soldiers, this’ll be the first time in two years where we’ll see snow. So, for a bunch of South Dakota folks, that’s what we’ll want to see,” Timanus added.
While they’re back, they’ll need to adjust to new routines and break old ones.
“There are many routines that you get used to that you do not miss. It’s a routine of – sometimes – ease, but it’s never a routine of you enjoying it,” Martin said. “The meals are fine, but they’re not great. The laundry’s done for you, but it’s not done well. So, for me personally, it’s pretty easy to let those routines go.”
For now, everyone is simply glad to be back – all 92 that were deployed.