Some Military Families In Hudson Want Bigger Homecoming For Mass. Soldiers

HUDSON (CBS) – Hundreds of Massachusetts troops are coming home from Afghanistan this week to a hero’s welcome.

But some families of one National Guard company are upset that their homecoming won’t be as big as they were hoping.

There have already been many homecoming celebrations around the area. The 181st infantry regiment came home to a warm reception in Cambridge this weekend.

The members of the “Charlie Company” just came back from a yearlong deployment in Afghanistan. There were lots of hugs and kisses, signs, flags and banners to greet them.

WBZ-TV’s David Robichaud reports.

It’s the kind of treatment family members would like to give to soldiers of the “D” company out of Hudson, but, they say that won’t happen right away.

They have been planning for a huge welcome home celebration on Wednesday, but, because of logistics,
the group of soldiers will likely be spit up and flown into a couple of different airports.

“There is no other feeling to that family member than to watch that soldier be escorted in by the police, get off that bus and you’re waiting, and the excitement is so high, the balloons are flying, the banners are there, the crowd is roaring. It’s like as if they were a superstar walking off the bus, and that’s how we want them to feel,” said Sue Savage, whose husband has been in the National Guard for 27 years.

The problem is, one-hundred soldiers are needed to book a charter flight. “D” Company has 85 coming home.

A National Guard spokesperson tells there has been no finalized plan, but, any attempt to get all the soldiers together for a formal return would most likely result in delaying their homecoming.

“Absolutely the last thing we want to do is delay their return. We want them back as quickly as possible,” says Sgt. 1st Class Don Veitch.

Sgt. 1st Class Veitch says that first and foremost on the soldiers’ minds is getting home to see their families and officials want to make sure that happens.

The military is planning a formal homecoming celebration that will be scheduled for a later date.

More from David Robichaud
  • Disappointed Army Mom

    this is so not fair to our troops. they deserve the welcome home celebration just like everyone else. what would have happen if there weren’t enough troops to go go fight for our country in the the first place? Give our troops what they deserve!! They went over together, send them home together !!

  • Dumbfounded

    That is terrible. These men and women have been over there protecting our country and beliefs. There shoudl be no reason that they shouln not feel the embrace that is our respect and gratitude.

  • Ajay

    My guess is that there’s nothing stopping the families from gathering them all together in one place and having whatever sort of “homecoming” they wish.
    Why does it need to be done for them?

    • Greg Postle

      As the father of a soldier set to come home from Iraq this week, I cannot believe your naivete on this. This is NOT an issue of asking for SPECIAL treatment. it IS an issue of thesed soldiers getting EQUAL treatment. They ALL deservea proper homecoming, regardless of the size of the unit.

    • Brian

      All returning soldiers deserve to be shown gratitude , appreciation , love and support
      Due to their sacrifice .they were not on Martha’s vineyard for vacation…
      returning vets are coming home from hard work and long time spent away from family’s
      WE owe it to them !
      We all owe them remember that.
      God bless 181 st
      My Grandfather… CC of 181st Worcester Ma 1938. career military 1928-59

    • alicia

      are you kidding me? The troops are fighting to suppor YOU and You cant take a little time out of your day of living in AC and eating whatever you want and sleeping in nice warm beds to support these people. Shame on you and you dont deserve to post a comment as they are fighting for your free speech.

  • KF4766

    I agree that they deserve a heroes’ welcome, but at the end of the day isn’t the important thing that they ARE coming home, and in one piece?

  • Joe

    I hate when a news report doesn’t answer the obvious question. Who’s policy is this? National guard? Military as a whole? Feds? State? Local? If we knew the answer then people could make calls to the right people and try and get this RIDICULING rule/policy changed. Another question that should have been asked is, what is the minimum number they are short of? The report says “hundreds”. Can’t they combine two company’s into one big homecoming? It seems so easy too fix but then again I’m sure politicians are involved which turns it into a cluster f.

    • Greg

      Joe–the reporter mentioned TWICE that Delta company was 15 members short of the minimum number required. But you have the power to overcome that administrative blunder. Get on the phone (along with all of your friends and neighbors) to the Hudson mayor and town council, the Massachusetts governor and your state representative and senator, and your U.S. representative and senators. (BTW, your U.S. reps may not be able to fix the budget mess, but they won’t stand for a soldier not getting a proper homecoming ceremony!)

      • Joe

        “The problem is, one-hundred soldiers are needed to book a charter flight. “D” Company has 85 coming home.”

        Greg, that quote was not in the original article at the time I made the comment. It was obvious updated in between our posts.

  • Jane

    This is an outrage … every soldier deserves to know the deep appreciation and gratitude that Americans feel for their service. The soldiers and their families need to know that we appreciate the sacrifices they make to ensure our freedom. How can we help to make this event happen? Who do we contact and how? Are they short the required number of soldiers due to loss of lives? If only ONE soldier comes home … citizens deserve the opportunity to show that soldier the deep respect of a grateful nation. They have earned a heroes welcome!

  • Sylvia

    As a former military wife, now a military mom, my obvious comment is that “They weren’t 15 men short to be sent over ini the first place”! Give these men & women the welcome back they deserve! If we can contually support everyone else, then don’t short change our service Men & women! Thank y ou all for the service & sacrafices you have made for your country!

    • ed

      I’m a retired national gaurds soldier, I personaly believe this has been blown out of proportion. Anyone that has served for there country in a combat zone should know that the greatest feeling of coming home is seeing there families. Yes it would be nice to give these boys a big welcome home, but I do believe that they are just happy to be going home. These people are forgetting the most important thing of all there heroes are finally returning and god willing returning home as they left . God bless our troops, we all owe them our gratitude, and that’s not done by making a scene over a flight or party.

      • jdaniels

        I agree Ed, I think this is more about the families at home than the guys returning. I know my husband couldn’t give a flying flip if there’s a hundred other people standing on that pier, there’s only 3 that matter and I’m sure thats how most of these guys feel. Let them come home and don’t turn it into some sort of conflict to make yourselves feel important, they don’t need that, they need peace and quiet and the comfort of family and home.

      • Geoff

        I am a deployed Soldier in Afghanistan and I agree with Ed. I’m happy to come home to my family. All of the other stuff is secondary. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

  • Eric P. Williams

    I remember years ago coming home from a 6 month deployment the ship got in at midnight and the only ones there were the drivers of the buses contracted to take us back to the base. I was just happy to be home. My family gave me the best welcome home coming through the door.

  • Mike

    All I keep hearing is “waaaaaaaaaaaa” Coming from a family of soldiers, I find it amazing the lengths people go for OIF/OEF vets while letting all the other vets go on the way side. Guess what, at the VA? OIF/OEF have a higher priority over WWII vets, but hey it’s ok, they are heros and everyone else aren’t.

  • Amy

    Most of the soldiers really don’t care. They have been on a plane for hours, waited for hours while the plane was switched out or refueled, and then sat through briefings for homecoming. All they want is to go and find some hot food and a place to relax.

  • terina

    you know there are thousands of soldiers who don’t get this kind of homecoming ever. and who have deployed more often. while it is nice, and obviously deserved, reality is that it isn’t going to happen every time. my husbands unit came home in bits and pieces too. it was pretty ridiculous, but there wasn’t anything that any of us could do about it. the air force will only do so much to get them all back at the same time if they aren’t above a certain number. so, this is normal. the families can get together and do whatever they would like. most soldiers RARELY get the sirens and whatever else they were talking about. i guarantee that the soldiers probably won’t care as long as when they get off the bus, their families are there waiting, and that there is something to eat. promise. because that is all these soldiers want. all the other stuff is just extra show……

  • Karen

    1 or 200, they all deserve a hero’s welcome.

  • Carl Frank

    That is not the right way to do it at all. Not sure how you can get the policy to change or for the powers to be to change their minds. My suggetion would be to contact the Vetereans organzations in your area (American Legion, VFW etc), or the Patriot Guard Riders in your state and see if they can have a good welcome home showing at the airports. They deserve more, but this may help.

  • DJ


  • Me

    The families would have hated if their spouse or kids joined the Marines. When we did a year long tour and then came back for debriefing and some of us didn’t get to go home for 2 to 3 weeks after we got back stateside, with no homecoming because we didn’t even know we were coming back until they told us to pack up.

  • pamibaby

    They’re good enough to go to war, get killed for our freedom, and then “there’s not enough in the group for a formal homecoming”. What a bunch of bureaucratic BS. If I could, I would be there to welcome them all somehow.

  • Vicki Clark

    hey as a USO Volunteer at Philly International, I can tell you this happens all the time, its nothing new. However, rest assured, they do receive a hero’s welcome from us!

  • Pop Warner

    It’s important that the genral puiblic have a way to relay their sense of gratitude and appreciation to soldiers who have put their lives on the line for the causes of freedom in the US and to help stop terrorism and violence against the US. This thankfulness runs very deep in most people who are patriotic and would love to get out and wave or shout and screem and offer smiles of happiness when they go by in a bus or parade. And the sights and feelings those soldiers gather after they see this, can make it all seem worthwhile when at times it may seem otherwise.

  • Monty

    When our son came home from Afghanistan there was no homecoming for him. It was awful and so sad. Our service men and women need to know they are appreciated! They deserve a huge warm welcome home!!!!!!!

  • Pop Warner

    Please relay my thanks and appreciation to him from me. Give him a hug and just say, this is from someone online who has a son returning on this Delta Co. from Afghanistan and he said he admires you for your contribution. And if I should ever meet him someday, may I have the honor of buying him a cup of coffee or something to help him hold his head up. Maybe a gallon of gas!

  • SF

    Is it a disappointment these soldiers won’t get a big homecoming celebration? Of course. As a former soldier with two combat tours my biggest concern was getting home quickly and safely. They can keep the hoopla. I just want to get home to my loved ones.

  • Jingle

    George H Winslow Jr. The officer in charge of the unit needs to contact their State Captain, those email address are found at: http://www.patriotguard.or​g/LeadershipContacts/State​CaptainsContactsPage/tabid​/57/Default.aspxState Captain’s Contacts Page
    Patriot Guard Riders is an organization supporting those who risk their lives fo…r America’s freedom and security. Our main mission is to attend funerals of fallen American heroes.
    See More
    Maybe this will help them get the welcoming they deserve

  • Gina

    Can they not have a homecoming at each location? There will always be issues of companies being split up to travel. Just go out and support the men & women that are serving. It doesn’t have to be federal case. Just be there to welcome them at the airport, bus terminal, or wherever it happens.l

  • Sammi

    I just want to say here that this is actually how it is done quite typically with National Guard units. These men and women are not like the active duty units who are all stationed at one location. They are spread out in many different towns and if there was one large homecoming, there would most likely be many families who would be left out of the mix. When my boyfriend got back from his last deployment there were actually 3 main locations for their “homecoming” when they first arrived home (where teh busses dropped them off after debriefing) adn then there was one large celebration 3 months later.

    It has nothing to do with these guys not being treated equally or not getting their fair shake, its simply the logistics of how a National Guard unit is formed versus how an Active Duty unit is formed.


      1. If you’re upset about this- BECOME INVOLVED! Don’t just sit back and continue to complain.
      2. Heroes, without a doubt, deserve a Hero’s welcome. HOWEVER, as expressed above, MANY soldiers just want to come home to their families! Reuniting with loved ones it the ultimate joy- NOT THE PRESENCE OF MEDIA.
      3. When in doubt, ASK YOUR SOLDIER WHAT MAKES THEM FEEL APPRECIATED! They are the best person to ask!

  • sharon silvestri

    I have a son that came home with a purple heart bronze medal of valor is in a book,all I cared about was him coming home alive in one piece. We all know how greatly appreciated theses men and women are,we had a very quiet family homecoming for him that is what he wanted most of theses men and women want to come home to there families not to be greeted by crowds of people,they are coming home with ptsd tbi the last thing they need is a loud outburst..we went to Disney a month after my son returned he was anxious and wanted no part of the crowds so lets thank our lucky stars our family member is home…and make our own homecoming parties

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