WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The South Carolina National Guard held a ceremony to welcome home more than 140 U.S. Army National Guard Soldiers with the 1221st Engineer Clearance Company from a nearly nine-month deployment to the Middle East in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.
The welcome home ceremony was held Thursday evening at the South Carolina National Guard Armory in West Columbia.
The unit was mobilized for about 11 months total to include pre- and post-mobilization training at Fort Bliss, Texas.
While deployed overseas, the unit provided route clearance support and engineer projects throughout Syria, Iraq, Jordan, and Kuwait. After nearly 11 months away from home, soldiers said they were ready to see their loved ones again.
“It’s been a crazy experience and one of a kind definitely and just glad to be home,” Sgt. Tim Nichols who just returned from deployment said.
It was a happy day not only for Sgt. Tim Nichols, but his entire family, who waited eagerly for him to get home.
“This is a Christmas present,” Rhonda Nichols, Tim’s mother said. “If I didn’t get anything else, I would be happy with just Tim getting home for Christmas.”
It’s a Christmas miracle as his family calls it and, for his wife, Chelsey Nichols, emotions ran high.
“It’s been hard trying to raise two boys without their daddy,” Chelsey said. “Today, they get to walk to him for the first time.”
Tim last saw his twins back in February, when they were just four months old. During their time apart, the boys would use Facetime to see their dad.
“Watching them grow like that is pretty crazy,” Tim Nichols said. “I was kinda a little worried about how much they’d recognize me.”
Even with the time spent apart, the boys ran up to their dad and it was clear they never forgot their hero.