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GLENVILLE: Troops welcomed home

Capital District residents who live in the flight path of the 109th airlift wing at Stratton Air Force Base in Glenville will be sleeping more soundly now that the remaining troops have come home from Afghanistan and no more missions are planned for the near future.

The remaining members of the 109th Airlift Wing at Stratton Air Force Base in Glenville came home last week to hugs from friends and family, applause and cold beer.

Maj. Carlyle Norman of Schenectady is a pilot with the 109th. He said it is good to be home and wanted to thank the community for its support and understanding while the unit trained for their mission.

We were doing a lot of late-night flying and a lot of low flying, so we thank them for being tolerant of us, he said.

Between high-fives and hugs from his fellow military men and women, Norman said Afghanistan was an interesting experience.

"You know you see it on TV, but when you witness it first- hand, it really opens your eyes up," Norman said. "You can actually see the good that is happening over there."

"It's weird to say that war is interesting, but it is good to finally use some of our training," he added.

Norman said he was thankful that no one in his unit was harmed while overseas.

"We all made it home in one piece," he said. "While we were there, six Americans lost their lives, and luckily it wasn't any of us."

The 109th's main mission is to provide food, supplies and support to the National Science Foundation in Greenland and Antarctica.

Director of operations for the 109th, Mark Sakadolsky said the unit volunteered for a 60-day rotation in Afghanistan, which was split between two crews. The first group returned in the middle of August, Sakadolsky said. This last group had been overseas for about 30 days.

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