Freedom is not free and no one knows this better than the troops in the Second Battalion 228th Aviation Regiment. These men and women served in Iraq and Afghanistan for at least a year and are recognized for their sacrifices.
Maintenance and training officer Dirk Vandermeydan says, "We were recognized for performing our duty to the United States when we were deployed. It is their way of saying thank you."
After months of training the unit was sent overseas, leaving their family, friends, and home behind for rough living conditions and few amenities, but now that they are back they are well-respected.
C-12 instructor Mark Cassel says, "In this area everyone pays you a great deal of respect cause they understand the sacrifice it takes to be in the military."
As the War on Terror continues, many are growing anxious to see its end. These soldiers can feel the tension in the air, but say most people, regardless of their personal opinions, still stand by each soldier in uniform and appreciate their efforts.
Signal Officer Ann Murphy-Flaherty says, "The support was stronger when we left, people are frustrated now, people will say they appreciated the effort even if they don't agree."
Most people like to be appreciated and thanked for a job well done, but soldiers in this unit had a slightly different view of the ceremony.
Vandermeydan says, "We did it cause we wanted to, I volunteered for this job. I feel it is my duty."
With everything they gave up for over a year of their lives, from telephones to computers, it's funny what comes to their minds when asked what they most missed.
Murphy-Flahery says she missed "a real good cheese burger, real pizza, and a chocolate milk shake; those are the big things that I missed forever ever over there."
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