Soldiers Ring in the New Year at Home - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

01/01/06

Soldiers Ring in the New Year at Home

Dee Williams rushes to hug her cousin, Staff Sergeant Keith Bacon. Dee Williams rushes to hug her cousin, Staff Sergeant Keith Bacon.

Hundreds of families rang in the new year with some of the best presents of all: their loved ones. Nearly a thousand Third Infantry Division soldiers returned home between New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Many were gone for almost a year and their homecoming is making 2006 all the more special for their families and friends.

Cottrell Field wasn't as glamorous as Times Square, but it wasn't the stroke of midnight that hundreds of Third I.D. families were waiting for. Still, it was a festive atmosphere. Parents, spouses and children were holding signs and waving flags, ready to welcome something much more precious than the new year.

"I just won't believe it until he's here and I see him," said Brandy McCall, who was waiting for her husband. "We've been waiting for this day all year and we're just that excited."

McCall and her two boys have a simple New Year's resolution.

"Just to try to spend as much time together and spend time with the boys and let them spend time with their daddy," she explained. "Plus," she added with a smile, "my husband wants to try for our third child."

Dee Williams is standing with her family, waiting for her cousin, Staff Sergeant Keith Bacon.

"I can't explain it to you," she said. "I just can't. I'm so filled right now with joy. We weren't sure he was coming back this soon, but our prayers were answered and we got a phone call saying that he was going to be in the first of January and here he is. He's coming in tonight!"

On a chilly evening, with less than two hours to 2006, 220 soldiers from the Division Support Brigade got a hero's welcome home.

"It's real exciting," said one soldier, hugging his wife, "I've been waiting a year."

Their families have been waiting, too. Now, they finally have their soldiers home.

More Third Infantry Division soldiers are expected to return in the coming days and weeks. Military officials say the entire division should be home by mid-February.

Reported by: Liz Flynn, lflynn@wtoc.com

 

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