Maine Soldiers Home for the Holidays 

Some recently deployed Maine Army National Guard troops will be spending the holidays at home.The 3rd Battalion 172nd Infantry unit is scheduled to leave for Afghanistan soon. But, thanks to a donation from Stephen and Tabitha King, they got a ride home to Maine first.Their bus pulled in to the Brewer Armory and the excitement grew.”Are you excited for Dad?” Ashley Gaboury asks her niece, Pheobe. “They all ask her ‘What do you want for Christmas?’ And she says, ‘For my Dad to come home.'”After a long ride from Indiana, these soldiers were home, for a 10-day visit.”It’s exciting, especially when they’re going to be leaving for a long period of time,” Gaboury says.”It’s awesome. It was an unexpected thing because we didn’t know if they were going to come home or not,” says Michelle Griffin, who was waiting for her fiance.The troops had some time off over the holidays, but many didn’t know how they’d be able to get home…until the King family donated the money for a bus ride.Spc. Tom Belton is from Bucksport.”I just plan on having a good Christmas with my family…and I’ll see the old lady,” Belton says, with a smile. “It’s not often something like this happens, you get to go home, see your family for Christmas and then take off again, but it’s just good to be home for the holidays.”They’ve been training in several different locations for the past couple of weeks.”We’re learning all the things we need to do, so we can do what we need to do overseas,” Belton says. “We’ve had a lot of good training, been to Louisiana, now we’re in Indiana,” says Sgt. First Class Brian Baker. For Baker, the trip home is especially good timing. His wife Angela is pregnant and their baby is coming any day.”Hopefully,” he says. “It better!” says Angela. “Thank you to Stephen King for bringing him home,” she says.Their unit is scheduled to leave for Afghanistan next month.