Long-delayed homecoming for local officer

TROY — While military deployments are stressful on serviceman and women, they can be just as stressful on families at home.

Add to that, the intervention of the current COVID-19 situation and even the most steady families can begin to waiver.

For the family of Captain William Bolton, of Troy, the last few months have been filled with anxiety and uncertainty as they waited at home for the military to end his deployment and allow him to come home.

All of the waiting came to an end on Sunday night as Bolton arrived back in Troy.

Bolton, a United States Air Force officer, deployed to Qatar, in the Middle East, in October where he served as Sexual Response Coordinator for military units in the Quater area, the same position he normally fills at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base when not deployed.

April was the scheduled end of deployment for Bolton but the world COVID-19 crisis forced the government to put travel plans on hold for many military personnel.

“At the beginning of April, they paused all (troop) movements,” said Bolton’s wife Jenni, “you were left in the dark, not knowing when he would be home, what was going to happen.”

In early June, the Boltons received word that “he would probably be home this month (June).”

Bolton’s path home was by way of Bulgaria, Dublin, Baltimore, Charlotte, and finally Dayton.

Captain Bolton’s final leg of the flight to Dayton was delayed, making his arrival home at nearly midnight on Sunday. Bolton’s family, including Jenni, and their children Ryan, 20, Carley, 15, and Olivia, 6, met him at Dayton International Airport.

In spite of the late hour, about a dozen family members, friends, and neighbors were waiting in front of the Bolton home to greet the officer and welcome him home.

For Captain Bolton, the arrival home was long-awaited and exciting. The welcoming party waiting in front of his home was a surprise.

“It is much appreciated,” Bolton said. “These people really mean a lot to me for coming out.”

The coming weeks will be filled with catching up with his family, he said. Bolton’s wife, Jenni, is a registered nurse working for Hospice of Miami County and is also in her final semester to earn her master’s degree as a nurse practitioner.

Bolton, a 2003 graduate of Miami East High School, served 10 years as a member of Bravo Battery, 1/134th Field Artillery, Ohio National Guard, based in Piqua, before transferring to the Air Force three years ago.

When asked what is next for him, Bolton simply said, “Some R&R!”