Vermont National Guard Soldiers Return from Afghanistan

09/03/04 12:00AM



(Host) Hundreds of family members and friends gathered Friday in South Burlington for the return of 50 Vermont National Guard soldiers. The unit was away from home for a year, and served much of that time in Afghanistan, where they helped train the Afghan National Army.

Spouses, friends, kids - and even a few dogs provided a warm homecoming. The commander of the group, Lieutenant William Roy, thanked the families and the soldiers for their sacrifice.

(Roy) "Leading you has been an honor and a privilege. Lastly, General Rainville, I would like to thank you for the privilege of leading these men. A year ago, you entrusted these men and this battle flag to me. I received them in pride. Today, I return both with honor."

(Host) Shortly after he stepped off the plane, Sergeant Major Steve Gioun's family stood hugging each other and said they already had plans for how they'd spend their first evening together:

(Mrs. Gioun) "We're disconnecting the phone and locking the front door-"
(Child) "And unplugging the TV!"
(Sgt. Gioun) "I just plan on looking at the mountains and the trees - especially the trees and grass, I haven't a lot of that."


(Host) Gioun said he is proud to know that the Afghan National Army is succeeding in their mission and that their success reflects the effort put forward by the Vermont Guard soldiers.
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