‘It’s fantastic to be back’: More than 500 Indiana National Guardsmen return home

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — It was a special reunion this afternoon as over 500 Indiana National Guardsmen returned home after training overseas.

Guardsmen with the 38th Infantry Division’s 76th Infantry Brigade Combat Team returned to the Lawrence Armory on Wednesday after finishing their training mission supporting U.S. Army’s Pacific Pathways exercises.

“It’s been a long, really incredible journey and a fantastic opportunity that we really wouldn’t have had anywhere else,” said Maj. Bill Ward of the 76th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.”

This year marked the first time a National Guard unit led and commanded all units training in the exercises that help build foreign partner relationships.

In total, approximately 1,400 Hoosier Guardsmen worked and trained alongside Australian, Indonesian and Japanese forces during Exercise Hamel in June, Garuda Shield in August and Orient Shield in September.

“In each of the countries, we were training with their militaries,” said. Maj. Ward. “I helped along our Pacific Pathways in Australia, Indonesia and Japan. It’s fantastic to be back and reunite with our families.”

Wednesday’s homecoming ceremony took place at the Lawrence Armory where Indiana National Guardsmen reunited with their families.

“It was great,” said Maj. Ward. “My parents and my wife were here. It was great to see all of them.”

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