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JBER soldiers return home from Kuwait

By Bonney Bowman 8:55 PM March 11, 2014

The 95th Chemical Company deployed in June 2013

ANCHORAGE - Ecstatic friends and family welcomed home more than 100 Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson soldiers who’d been serving overseas for nine months.

The 95th Chemical Company deployed to Kuwait in June 2013.

While there, they served as the chemical quick reaction force, trained the Kuwaiti Army and conducted other special missions.

But Tuesday, to the cheers of loved ones, they landed back home in Alaska.

Sgt. 1st Class Keyon Cummings waited, as patiently as he could, for his wife Chylander.

“It’s been a long nine months,” he said. “Very long nine months.”

He says he still remembers the first time they met back in drill school six years ago.

“I think she cursed me out,” he said, laughing.

The two celebrated their fifth anniversary last month — 6,000 miles apart. In their five years of marriage, they’ve only been in the same place at the same time for 20 months. Total.

“From a distance, we call, text, Skype, whatever different video chats we can use and we make the best of the time that we have when we are together,” Cummings said.

Unit Cmdr. Capt. Steve DeLeon tried to explain how it feels to see your family for the first time after months apart.

“It’s like, let me do this real quick because I see my kids right there and you almost want to tear up a little bit because you want to just run out there and grab them, but just overall excitement, I can’t really explain it,” he said.

The soldiers of the 95th are known as the Arctic Dragons.

Many said they were happy to be home with their families and ready to get back to their normal routines.

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