National Guard members welcomed home for Thanksgiving after nearly a year deployed

Hartford

WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. (WTNH) — A group of Connecticut National Guard members is back home Tuesday just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday.

It’s the first-of-its-kind homecoming for about 100 soldiers from the 192nd Military Police Battalion that had been stationed over in Guantánamo Bay since January.

The unit was responsible for providing planning, security, personnel and logistical support to Military Police units.

Now their mission is behind them, family in front of them.

“I wasn’t sure it was going to be Thanksgiving that we were going to come back before that, but I’m just glad to be back for the holidays,” said PFC Matthew Divergillo.

When they left home, there was no COVID-19 in America. They are returning home to a different world.

They spent two weeks quarantining in Texas before arriving home in Connecticut.

The soldiers got off the plane Tuesday to the empty tarmac greeted by Major General Francis Evon Jr. along with Senator Richard Blumenthal. They walked past an empty terminal out into the parking lot where their families were told to wait for them.

There were tears of joy and hugs as families reunited in the parking lot around their cars, asked to social distance because of COVID.

“It’s the best, it’s all we were praying for, a safe return of all of our soldiers,” said Kimberly Divergillo, mother to PFC Divergillo. “I am so proud of him so proud!”

“I just need to stop crying that’s all,” PFC Divergillo’s family gushed. “We are so happy to have him back and have him for the holidays,” PFC Divergillo’s father said. “We missed him and saw him go off. It was so long ago but so fast at the same time; we’re glad everybody is back safe.”

“I am so happy for him to be back. I have been waiting since the day he left,” said another soldier’s family.

When we asked Sgt. Josh Odel what it felt like to return home to a world with COVID, he said, “It is a little weird, it was a little weird when we were in Texas but it’s still somewhat isolated, so we will find out how things go.”

Governor Ned Lamont has asked people to keep family gatherings to a minimum to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

Many of the soldiers’ families said for Thanksgiving they’re just adding one more place at the table as they celebrate their soldier’s return home with immediate families.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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