220 National Guard Soldiers Welcomed Home in Dubuque

By Jillian Petrus, Reporter

Specialist Eric Flaherty, of Mason City, Iowa, kisses his son Keigan Flaherty, 1, during the homecoming ceremony for companies A and D, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division of the Iowa Army National Guard, at the Grand River Center in Dubuque, Iowa, on Sunday, July 17, 2011. The two companies are returning from a deployment in Afghanistan. (Mike Burley / Dubuque Telegraph Herald)

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By Aaron Hepker

DUBUQUE, Iowa - An unforgettable welcome home ceremony in Dubuque for 220 Iowa National Guard soldiers back from Afghanistan.

The homecoming ceremony for Companies A and D, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division happened at the Grand River Center.

Many of these soldiers left behind newborn sons and daughters missing out on a few firsts.

“It’s just exciting knowing the journey is almost over, and we can start over our whole life with our family,” said Katlyn Peacock waiting with daughter Jazzlyn for her husband Spc. Cody Peacock to be dismissed.

All over the ballroom, children waited for their dads and moms to march through the doors. Many too young to know what this day means for them and their parents. Jenna Lueck with 10 month old twins Kierra and Clay in her arms says husband Sergeant Joey Lueck is excited to start dad duties.

“We were really excited to have kids,” Lueck said,” and then we had two while he was gone, so he’s really happy to get back home spend time with them.”

Katie Simmons watched and waited anxiously with son Michael for her husband, Sergeant Jacob Simmons. When the soldiers were finally dismissed, Katie let her son walk to his dad for the first time.

“It’s unreal to see that right away,” Sgt. Simmons said. “It’s awesome. ”

For the first time in a year, Katie can take a deep breath, along with many other wives, husbands, daughters and sons, knowing their soldiers are home safe.

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