NORMAN — The Army National Guard 1-245th Airfield Operations Battalion made its way home from Afghanistan on Tuesday to hugs and tears of joy, but even amid the celebration, troops from another unit were on the minds of those assembled at the Norman Armed Forces Reserve Center.
Oklahoma has lost seven soldiers since July 29, all but one from the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
A moment of silence was observed for those soldiers. In his remarks at the homecoming celebration Maj. Gen. Myles Deering said he had attended the funeral of a soldier from the 45th earlier in the day.
Deering urged those in attendance to keep the members of the 45th in their thoughts and prayers.
“They are hurting right now,” Deering said.
Genea Foster was waiting on her daughter Cpl. Brooke Foster to arrive. She found herself thinking of those that would not be coming home alive.
“Anytime you hear someone mention Afghanistan on the news you just cringe, and you hope and pray it's not yours,” Foster said. “I think about those men and women over there every day, and I pray for them every day.”
For families of the 1-245th, the waiting is the hardest part, especially the days leading up to the homecoming. Jennifer Harris welcomed her husband, Warrant Officer R.J. Harris, home. He had been gone for a year.