MILWAUKEE -- It was a homecoming nine months in the making. For the second time in two days, Wisconsin Army National Guard soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery were welcomed home at the 128th Air Refueling Wing in Milwaukee. The latest group arrived on Friday afternoon, May 24.
This Milwaukee-based unit left Wisconsin in July 2018 -- and headed to the Middle East. They arrived back on U.S. soil earlier in May -- and were greeted by family and friends the moment they stepped off the plane.
"Very long time," said Katie Dunn, fiance was deployed.
It's hard to explain to a 3-year-old why daddy is gone.
"He missed a couple birthdays. He missed the birth of his youngest niece," said Dunn.
Katie Dunn did her best while her fiance, Staff Sergeant Jon Bainer, was away.
"Christmas was hard without him. He is the voice of Christmas," said Dunn.
Thankfully, those days are done. After nine months away, the soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery are back where they belong. No more missed holidays and birthdays.
"I've been waiting for so long. I'm just so happy," said Dunn.
No more waiting for daddy to come back home.
"My family is whole again," Dunn said. "All back together under one roof."
Staff Sergeant Bainer plans to drink a beer and eat a good meal with his family Friday night, then headed to Miller Park on Sunday, May 26, where he'll throw out the first pitch.