National Guard battalion returns

The bus transporting servicemen from the 103rd Armored Battalion of the National Guard had just arrived in Williamsport and that meant the long wait for their family members, loved ones and friends was over.

“All right. He’s coming home. The bus is here,” shouted an obviously delighted William Erb, of Montoursville.

Moments later, Erb embraced his son, SSgt. William Erb Jr., in a bear hug.

After 7-and-a-half months in Kuwait, SSgt. Erb was home.

He hugged his wife, Mary, his three children and other members of his family.

Such scenes played out in front of the National Guard-Army Reserve building just before 2 p.m. Friday when some dozen National Guard members returned from the overseas deployment.

“He’s a good kid,” the elder Erb said of his 42-year-old son. “He’s dedicated to what he’s doing 100 percent.”

Erb said he’s proud of him, but also happy to know that people are supporting the U.S. troops.

Sgt. Erb, for his part, said it’s been a long time coming.

While in Kuwait he worked the security detail.

The 22-year military veteran and Williamsport resident said the latest overseas assignment marks his final deployment.

“No more leaving for me,” he said.

Sgt. First Class Michael Orwig was also happy to finally be in Williamsport where he was greeted by friends and family.

“It’s always nice to come home,” he said. “Wonderful.”

The latest overseas assignment to Kuwait marked his third deployment

“We accomplished our stated mission over there,” he said.

When not with the National Guard, Orwig serves as a captain with the Williamsport Bureau of Police.

He’s said he’s looking forward to catching up on things back home and spending time with his family.

Another National Guardsman arriving in Williamsport after a long stretch overseas was Colin Holmes, of Muncy.

His stepfather, Michael Coppes and mother, Nicole Coppes, were anxiously awaiting his arrival with their children.

The couple said it was great to have Holmes finally coming home.

“Absolutely,” Mike Coppes said.

While in Kuwait, Nicole often kept in contact with Holmes through text messages and other electronic communications.

“I know he wasn’t in any danger zone,” she said.

The deployment marked his first, she added.

“He was gone since before Christmas,” Mike said.

Holmes has been in the National Guard for more than two years.

His future plans include attending Lock Haven University.