Moms shed tears and American flags waved at Salt Lake International Airport welcoming the soldiers of the 358th Public Affairs Detachment back from Bosnia on Saturday.
"Olympic flags wave in Atlanta. American flags are waving around here like these guys are winning gold medals," said Carlos Martinez of Bountiful, father of Staff Sgt. Anthony Martinez."These guys are just as big of heroes as those people on the Olympics, only they're not athletes."
"I wouldn't want to do it again. I know I can do it again as long I have my friends, family and family support through the unit," Maryanne Martinez of Bountiful, Sgt. Martinez's wife, said. "We're going to visit awhile and run away and may catch a late movie."
Her husband will resume his job as the marketing director for the Five Points Mall in Bountiful.
The 15-member 358th Detachment has been in Bosina since December. Their mission was to provide media escorts and journalistic support to the Joint Information Bureau in Tuzla, Bosnia, and other surrounding cities.
Sgt. David Palazzolo of Clarkston, Cache County, saw much of the country while serving and said it was a good experience.
"I grew up a lot," he said.
As to his future plans, Palazzolo said, "I have no idea. Being away has changed my plans. I can finally decide on a major after six years of school."
Palazzolo is a student at Utah State University.
Kathie Palazzolo, his mother, said his hometown has a hero's welcome waiting for him when he arrives.
"(Bosnia) was more peaceful than we thought it to be," Tom Palazzolo, Sgt. Palazzolo's father, said.
Specialist James Barlow of Sandy missed a lot his first time away from home. "I missed my mom, he said. Secondly, he missed hanging out with friends and going to the movies.
His plans for the future are simple.
"(I plan to) have dinner with Mom and see a lot of movies," he said.
Specialist Joe Johnston of Brigham City is a hero around town, according to his mother, Kathi Johnston.
"We missed him," she said.
"I'm glad I did it. I wouldn't want to do it again," Specialist Johnston said. "Everyone who went did a little growing up."
Retired Lt. Col. Claude McKinney, 96th Public Affairs Spokesman, said that no one was hurt while in Bosnia.
At 5:29 p.m., the soldiers flew in on Delta Flight 633.
The 358th is a unit under the U.S. Army 96th Regional Support Command. The unit, housed at Fort Douglas, is comprised of photographers and print journalists as well as broadcasters who live in or around the Salt Lake Area.
A welcome home party will be scheduled later this month for the soldiers.