Home for the Holidays: Troops Return - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports


Home for the Holidays: Troops Return

A soldier gets a big hug from his young daughter. A soldier gets a big hug from his young daughter.

It's been a busy holiday weekend at Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield. Hundreds of Third Infantry Division soldiers returned home just in time for the holidays, after nearly a year in Iraq. Saturday morning, more than 350 soldiers made it back. Saturday night, nearly 300 more came home just in time to spend Christmas Eve with their very happy families.

Hundreds of families packed Cottrell Field on Christmas Eve; however, they weren't looking for Santa Claus. They searched through a sea of marching soldiers, eager for a glimpse of their loved ones. After almost a year in Iraq, nearly three hundred soldiers from the 4th Brigade Combat team, one of the newest brigades in the Army, are coming home.

Their friends and families weren't singing Christmas carols, but their shouts and cheering were music to their ears and who could ask for a better present than a hero's welcome home?

"Welcome home," Garrison Commander Colonel John Kidd told the troops. "Congratulations on a mission accomplished and a job well done!"

Then came the moment they had waited eleven long months for: the rush to hug, kiss and hold families and friends close. For these men and women, it's the greatest gift they could receive. After all their hard work, they're looking forward to relaxing at home with the ones they love.

The Purnells have simple plans for the holiday.

"Just to have as much fun and spend as much time together as possible," explains SFC Lee Purnell.

Linda Purnell said it's good to have her husband home. "God is good," she said, smiling. "God is faithful!"

Several hundred more Third Infantry Division troops are due home on Monday, but the majority of the Third I.D. will return after New Year's Day.

Reported by: Liz Flynn, lflynn@wtoc.com


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