Heroes' Welcome

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"It just feels outstanding to be back in Mississippi after you've seen what we've seen," said Master Sgt. Kary Nicholson, arriving in Meridian Monday, five months after the 186th Security Forces Squadron were deployed to Kuwait.

The unit had to leave just before Christmas. Nicholson's family said being apart was hard, but now all are just thankful to have him back home.

"He's been gone for a long time and it was difficult at Christmas when he was gone, but we're glad to have him back!" said his daughter, Emily Nicholson.

The team provided security for U.S. and Coalition aircraft based in Kuwait, sometimes in searing heat and blinding sandstorms. In spite of a tough situation, he said it all went fine.

"We were in gas masks for a while, about 20 times total, but everything went fine," said Sgt. Nicholson.

The security team landed in Atlanta and came on to Meridian by bus, where family and friends were waiting. The bust trip meant the 186th could be home a couple of days sooner.

Kennedy McReynolds, daughter of Tech. Sgt. Kevin McReynolds, expressed the sentiments of virtually all who gathered for the homecoming, "I'm happy!"

"I'm glad to see grass and trees," said her father. "My family I've not seen in five months. It's excellent. Glad to be here, glad to be home."

Families weren't the only ones out in support of our returning troops. Girl Scouts from the Brookhaven area, who sent 41 cases of cookies and valentines to them while they were stationed in the Middle East, helped welcome the security squadron home. The scouts even had their pictures made with the men they helped take care of from half a world away.