Over 200 Soldiers Return

We've been watching as, group by group, military personnel who have been fighting a war in a country half a world away are reunited with their loved ones here at home. That was the scene once again early this morning as more than 200 soldiers landed at Hunter Army Airfield.

PFC Joseph Beard saw his five-week-old son Joseph, Jr., for the first time."I can't believe I created this," he said. His wife Kelli says she still can't believe she did it on her own. "It's been hard, and the baby came early and he didn't make it in time," she said.

And she's not the only wife that feels that way.

"People say you have all this support," said Madeline Cruz. "It's not true, you just need him by your side all the time." Cruz also had a baby while her husband was gone, and Daddy was all smiles when he first laid eyes on four-month-old Steven.

"He's so big and I've already missed three months," said Sgt. Cruz. "I'm glad I'm with him."

Many of these soldiers are anxious to spend time with family, but they say their thoughts and prayers are still with the ones still in Baghdad.

"We still have a lot in people in Baghdad and Kuwait," said PFC Beard. "My concerns are with them and their families here. While Beard does have his comrades in mind, he can't wait to get to the place he calls home sweet home.

"I'm going to go home take a shower, get something good to eat and that's it," he said. "I don't ask for much. I appreciate life a lot more now."

Half of the soldiers are from the 603 Aviation Support Battalion. Others were from Apache and Blackhawk battalions. Many of the soldiers have been gone eight months, some even longer.

Reported by: Hena Daniels, hdaniels@wtoc.com