Thursday, families, friends and well-wishers filled the Laramie Regional Airport hangar for the anticipated arrival of the 133rd company of the Wyoming National Guard. Gov. Matt Mead, along with other members of the legislature traveled from Cheyenne to welcome the soldiers.

Around 10  a.m., the 133rd company landed at the Laramie airport. For nine months, the soldiers were deployed in Bahrain, a small island off the coast of the Persian Gulf. Gov. Mead said that it is great to have the troops back Wyoming and see their families.

Although the hangar was filled with many different people, they all had the same longing for their loved ones. Hannah Robinson, who drove from Cheyenne with a newborn daughter, said that she was nervous all morning.

“It (the morning) couldn’t go by fast enough. He’s never met the baby, and all I want is to hug him,” says Hannah Robinson.

Hannah Robinson and Her Newborn Daughter Savannah
Eldridge Bell,II/ Townsquare Media

Karen Kirk, mother of Specialist Chris Kirk, has been counting down the days to her son's return, literally. "I have a countdown clock on my iPad that started the day he left," says Kirk. Although Karen Kirk  came from a military family, she stated that it is different when it’s your own son.

“It’s heart breaking and it’s your baby no matter what, no matter how old he is. It’s like having your heart ripped out a bit, but the joy of him coming home, I can’t even explain it."

As the company’s arrival was announced, hundreds of Wyoming residents gathered outside the hangar to watch the soldiers march in. After the troops were allowed to break rank, they were immediately engulfed in a crowd of  tearful loved ones. 

Gov. Matt Mead,  in an address to the crowd, honored the soldiers for their sacrifice and for  representing Wyoming well while overseas.

“We, Wyoming, are so proud of these troops. I will tell you, when we go overseas and see the base commanders, what they always tell us, consistently, is when the Wyo. troops come over, the bar is raised," Gov. Mead stated.

As the crowd began to dissipate, Karen Kirk was still seen embracing her son, Chris Kirk, while sharing a laugh with the entire family. Just like his mother, Chris also couldn’t wait to see his family again. “It’s just really good to see them ( his family). You miss things like holidays and stuff; it makes you appreciate things like family,” he stated.

Before leaving the hangar, a joyful Mrs. Kirk and her son enjoyed a laugh together because now her countdown clock was counting upward.

Karen and Chris Kirk Plus Count Down Clock
Eldridge Bell,II/ Townsquare Media


More From KOWB 1290