Clearwater-based Army Reserve Medevac unit comes home

4:46 PM, Oct 16, 2012   |    comments
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Video: Army Reserve Medevac unit comes home

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Clearwater, Florida -- The wait was as hard for a Clearwater-based Army Reserve Medevac unit as it was for their families.

For a year, the U.S. Army Reserve's 159th Aviation Regiment was deployed to Afghanistan, putting in 2,200 hours of flying time to transport and treat more than 1,200 people who were injured.

On Tuesday, they got to come home.

Cars filled the streets around the Sheltair Aviation hangar near the St. Pete-Clearwater Airport as families carried flags and handmade signs, waiting for the company to arrive after a stop at Ft. Hood.

"I don't even know what to say right now," says company member Joshua Maldonado. "It feels great to be home, definitely."

For Maldonado, this was an especially happy homecoming. He and his wife, Amanda, just found out they're having a baby.

"Overwhelmed with excitement, really just a rush of emotion. I don't even know how to describe it," he says.

A year from now, he'll be among the crowd anxiously waiting for loved ones to return from war. His sister, Valerie, deploys next month.

"She's a great soldier. I don't need to give her any advice but to be herself," Maldonado says.

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