By Bree Sison, WBZ-TV

MILFORD, Mass. (CBS) — The 212th Engineer Installation Squadron hosted a Hometown Heroes Salute on Sunday morning. The Massachusetts Air National Guard honored 43 men and women who served in Afghanistan or Iraq, but also recognized their friends and families.

“If our troops are worried about the home front and what’s going on, they can’t focus on the job,” said guest speaker Lt. Col. Thatcher Kezer, a Guard member and mayor of Amesbury.

A formal ceremony included spouses, children and even pets of the airmen. The squadron then offered up burgers, bouncing castles and dunk tanks to celebrate their support networks.

“Technically, I guess we’re the story but the real story is that we couldn’t do what we do without our families,” Tech. Sgt. Chris Meservy said. He will soon serve a fourth deployment overseas.

“When I’m deployed, I don’t think it’s as bad there as it is for my wife,” newlywed Tech. Sgt. Steve O’Leary said.

O’Leary and his wife, Crystal, recently bought a home after he returned from a deployment. Now, he’s preparing for another tour of duty. “They have it way harder here dealing with all the problems,” he said. “Everything happens when you’re gone. Everything breaks. Something always happens when the spouse isn’t home.”


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