Members of the 123rd return to heroes welcome just in time for holidays

Just in time for the holidays members of the Ohio Air National Guard were back home.

They returned to a hero’s welcome Sunday evening, November 20, in Blue Ash.

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After a six-month deployment close to 100 members of the 123rd Air Control Squadron of the Ohio National Guard were home. They were safe and back with their families. The men and women of the 123rd pulled up in two large busses to a swarm of family members that couldn’t believe the moment was finally happening.

For Staff Sergant David Roberts it was the first time he’d seen his son in person, “I can’t put it into words; this doesn’t even feel real to me right now. So many people it’s just great to be home.”

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For months Staff Sergant Roberts and Lacey Palazzolo communicated over the internet. But Staff Sergant Roberts got to hold his son, Luke, for the first time Sunday.

While deployed the squadron provided air support and surveillance in Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq fighting ISIS.

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Lt. Colonel Steven Breitfelder said, “There’s probably about a third of us that have to be deployed over there in that environment and that location. So we look out for the younger troops.”

The Hansel family was also back together. Staci Hansel and her four daughters couldn’t wait to give dad, First Sergeant Harles Hansel, a big hug.

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“It’s hard to explain, to be away from them for so long, to be able to get home and be here. I have them in my arms is everything,” said Roberts.

The mission was a success and everyone was home and safe. The deployment was in support of Operations Inherent Resolve, Freedom’s Sentinel and Resolute Support.

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