115th Fighter Wing returns after months-long deployment

MADISON (WKOW) — Just before Veterans Day, hundreds of members of the Wisconsin Air National Guard are back home in Madison.

“He’s been deployed for a few months now and we’re glad to have him back,” Mike Hansen, who was waiting for his son, said.

His sentiment was shared by a massive crowd at Truax Field in Madison.

Every person eagerly awaiting the arrival of their Airman from the 115th Fighter Wing, all to the same levels of excitement.

“If I had to say on a scale from one to 100, I would have to say 100,” Clayton Jensen, there waiting for his dad, said.

More than 300 members of the Wisconsin Air National Guard arrived Saturday after four months in Afghanistan.

“It’s been a very long three and a half to four months, I’ve been waiting for this day a long time,” Brian Stapley, one of those Airmen, said.

This is his fourth deployment, but his daughter Melaina says that doesn’t make it easier.

Like father like daughter, the two of them missed the same thing.

“Just our little conversations, our little talks,” Brian said.

“I would say the same thing, just like one on one time with him,” Melaina said. “I look up to him so much that it’s nice to have him here.”

While it was such a relief to have friends and family back home, for veterans greeting their loved ones, it meant so much more to see so many people there for the same purpose.

“Just to see the outpouring of support for the troops coming home, it’s really heartwarming and good to see especially so close to Veterans Day,” Hansen said.

After the recognition and the thanks, what many were most excited for catching up with family and: “A family dinner,” Stapley said.

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