National Guardsmen reunited with families in Smyrna - WSMV Channel 4

National Guardsmen reunited with families in Smyrna

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Dozens of families were reunited with their loved ones Tuesday as a group of National Guardsmen returned safely home to Middle Tennessee.

The Nickersons were one of the first families in line at the Smyrna Airport. They drove from Shelbyville to see their youngest son, Corey, walk off the plane.

"I had to fight tears. I started crying as a soon as I got on the Tarmac, because I missed him so much," said mother Nancy Nickerson.

Pvt. Corey Nickerson is one of about 75 guardsmen from Lawrenceburg now back home from Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

"I'm excited, glad to be home," said Corey Nickerson, with the 181st Field Artillery Battalion.

"The first three months I'd been pretty good, but since that, I've been counting down the days," said father and veteran David Nickerson.

Spec. Marc Barnett had a special little surprise waiting in line for him at the airport. For the first time, he got to hold his 4-month-old son, Collins.

"It felt great to be home, finally meet my son and get to see my wife and daughter again," Barnett said.

The troops arrived from Fort Bliss, TX, and they will be heading home to Lawrenceburg after final processing is complete at the base in Smyrna.

These families say they feel lucky to have their soldiers home while others are saying goodbye. Over the weekend, 170 military personnel were sent to Iraq to help with security near the U.S. embassy, and Pentagon officials say hundreds more could be headed that way soon.

"I cringed when I heard it, to be honest," David Nickerson said. "Just too many wars going on for me. I mean, I am a patriot from way back. I was a paratrooper and went for everything I could when I was in. But I just don't think we need to be in every conflict in the world."

At the National Guard Base in Smyrna, these troops are just thankful their sacrifice is appreciated.

"The Lord answers your prayers," Nancy Nickerson said.

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