Nearly three-quarters of 3rd ID back from Afghanistan - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Nearly three-quarters of 3rd ID back from Afghanistan

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

It's been a summer of celebration for the Third Infantry Division – with wave after wave of soldiers arriving home. Thursday night was the biggest homecoming yet – 300 Marne Air soldiers of the Third Brigade Combat team arrived at Hunter Army Airfield after spending spending nine months in Afghanistan.

Families screamed as the airplane hanger's doors opened and soldiers marched across the concrete that seperated them from their loved ones.

It's 6,542 miles from Savannah to Khandahar, Afghanistan, where the bulk of the soldiers were stationed. Now they were less than 50 feet from the families who have been waiting for them.

But the wait wasn't over after they marched through those hanger doors.

Soldiers and their loved ones stared at one another through the partition of military ceremony – a speech, a prayer, the National Anthem and The Dog Face Soldier song.

Finally, they got the greenlight. Husbands, wives and children rushed their soldiers, finally free to take them home.

"What's the first thing you and daddy are gonna do?" a WTOC reporter asked Andrea Guevara, who'd just got done hugging her father, Lewis Guevara, for the first time in nine months.

"Eat cake."

The airplane hanger turned into a party.

"After a couple deployments, leaving your family one more time, that's the hardest part," Munitions Chief Anthony Cardona said.

It was Cardona's fourth deployment. Since September 11, he's spent a total of three and a half years overseas.

"Coming back is just the most exciting part of everything," he said. "That's when you start telling your family and saying, 'hey, I'm coming back, but you're not sure when you're coming back, and you have that excitement the whole time on the trip."

Right now, nearly three quarters of the Third ID is home from Afghanistan. The rest are expected back by the end of the month.

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