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172nd Mountain Infantry Comes Home 

Joy Hollowell

Home in time for the holidays…that will be the case for members of the 172nd Mountain Infantry, based out of Brewer.The first of the 157 soldiers arrived home Sunday.16 of them landed at Bangor International Airport Monday.Joy Hollowell was there for the happy homecoming.======It’s been an anxious morning for family and friends of the 172nd Mountain Infantry…waiting for that moment when they can see their loved one again, knowing that he’s safe and that he’s here.”baby crying”The last time Jimmy Shutts saw his son Elliot, was at his birth.”and how old is he now?””Almost 3 months,” says his mom, Kelly Leighton.There’s word the plane has landed, and the emotions are starting to run high. Then, moment arrives.”cheering as soldiers get off the plane.”It’s been a long year for these soldiers. They left back in December to work with the Afghan National Army securing major border crossings with Pakistan.”This was the most difficult mission we’ve sent out to date, says Major General John Libby, Maine Army National Guard. “Given the fact that they’re in infantry, the area that they had to operate in in Afghanistan, I was deeply concerned about the welfare of these young guys.” “Yeah, it was rough, it was a challenging year,” says Staff Sargaent Nicholas Theriault. “But everybody lives to tell the tale, so it’s pretty good.”The entire unit is expected to be back in the next two weeks. And little Elliot will enjoy his first Christmas with the best gift of all- Dad.”it’s great to be home. I know that,” says Jimmy Shutts.====Shutts is a volunteer fire fighter for the town of Hermon. The fire department gave him an escort home Monday from the airport.Major General Libby says it’s difficult getting in and out of Afghanistan, so the unit had to be broken up in order to fly home safely.A formal welcome home ceremony is scheduled for late January at the Collins Center in Orono.