HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - After 12 months of deployment, the soldiers of the Alpha Company 136th Expeditionary Signal Battalion out of Arab, returned to the loving arms of their family and friends today. “It’s just so exciting, a little bit nervous, butterflies," says Michelle Moe, the wife of a soldier returning home.
The signs, the smiles, the tears say it all. “It’s wonderful… I just can’t oh… I just don’t know what to say," says Patsy Waldon, a soldier's wife.
These National Guardsmen served in seven different countries on various missions. “So thankful he’s coming home," says Moe.
Thankfully, every single service member that left 12 months ago, was able to step off the plane to Lynyrd Skynrd's "Sweet Home Alabama," the revving of the Patriot Guard riders, and a sea of loved ones. “The air breathes differently, smells better over here. Just knew I was here finally," says SGT. Brandon Cisco, an Alabama National Guardsman.
It was a reunion fit for the heroes they are. “It’s so good to be home. I feel like I”ve been gone forever and a day but reunited with my family, it’s amazing," says Shonderra Eddins, an Alabama National Guard Soldier.
Captain David Bacon led this company. “This is one of the better feelings I’ve ever had in my life. It’s just fantastic to see everybody come support us like this," he says. “It’s the best day ever!!!” shouts his wife Amy.
The First Meeting
While these soldiers have been deployed for the last 12 months, life at home hasn't stopped in their absence. So you can imagine the rush of adrenaline Sgt. Cisco experienced Saturday, holding his first born child for the first time. “I’ve gotten to Facetime videochat with her but actually seeing her is just, oh my God, such a blessing," he says.
His wife says, thanks to technology, she thinks their little one recognizes his voice.
Jason Raley deployed when his little girl was just 6 months old. “She’s grown up so much since I’ve been gone," says Raley. While he says he was fighting back tears on the plane just thinking about their reunion, he was relieved when she was excited to see him. “I was worried she’d not come to me, but I guess she remembers me from Facetime and Skype," he says.
Patsy Waldon is the Family Readiness Chairperson, who helps spouses and families cope with the struggles of deployment. “It’s a hard time. We have good days and bad days, highs and lows, so it is hard on them," she says.
With his international missions complete, Sgt. Cisco can now begin on a new, exciting mission. “So thankful, I didn’t know what to expect. It was just everything and more," says Sgt. Cisco. “She let me hold her for a little bit. She’s definitely used to Mom though. She’ll have plenty of time to get used to me now."