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Montana National Guard Battalion Returns

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We have great news for loved ones of the Montana National Guard 150 of which just got back to the U.S. this week. ABC Montana's Joe Moeller was able to speak with one of them after they returned. He gives us the details now from Helena.

In May of 2013 the soldiers from 1-189th General Support Aviation Battalion of the Montana National Guard left for Kuwait, for a roughly a nine month deployment. Tuesday night, they returned back to the U.S. landing at Fort Hood in Texas. Lt. Colonel James Wilkins is one of those 150 Montana soldiers that are back on American soil and we had the chance to speak with him just after he returned.

A graduate from Montana State University and working full time in the National Guard since 1999, this wasn't Wilkins first time being deployed, this time around it was part of something different, with new missions and new experiences.

"We did a lot of joint training with the Navy and the Marines." said Wilkins "So we did a lot of over water operations that we haven't done before. A lot of joint operations with the Navy in what we call the Persian Gulf or north Arabian Gulf."

The partnerships between nations that Wilkins worked with on deployment is what made this memorable.

"One of the big things we did over there that is really different than the combat operations that we did in Iraq is working with partner nations. Providing regional stability to building regional partnerships, in other words working with our partner countries like Saudi Arabia, United Arab Eremites, Kuwaitis." added Wilkins.

A native of Ennis, Montana, Wilkins is coming back to the Treasure State to his wife and four kids, being away from family to him was the most difficult part of deployment.

"Oh I am looking forward to spending time with my family that would be the number one, spending time with my wife and kids. " said Wilkins.

Wilkins is scheduled to return to mMontana within the week. From here the next chapter in his life takes him to Alabama with the Air Force, but this time he will be able to take his family with him on the move, which according to  him makes the move easier.

"Definitely thankful to all the state leaderships, and all the families, employers, for all their support."

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