More Soldiers Return This Weekend - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

01/07/06

More Soldiers Return This Weekend

Kenneth Horne gets a welcome home hug from his daughter. Kenneth Horne gets a welcome home hug from his daughter.

Between late Friday night and Saturday afternoon, more than 1,200 Third Infantry Division soldiers returned home. With the Third I.D. logo planted firmly behind them, soldiers planted their feet on Georgia soil for the first time in nearly a year. It's not a minute too soon for families patiently waiting at Cottrell Field for the troops to make their grand entrance. Nadine Horne has been raising four kids by herself while her husband has been deployed overseas.

"I'm handing everything back over to him," she joked, "and saying, 'Here you go! it's your turn!'"

The entire Horne family, including grandparents and in-laws came out to greet Kenneth Horne. His children could barely contain their excitement, holding a homemade banner to welcome their dad home.

"I just couldn't wait," said Austin Horne. "I've been counting down the days, like my mom."

They're not the only ones. The Brooks family, including the dog, waited with great anticipation to rush Cottrell Field in search of their soldier. Casey Brooks, said the past year was very emotional, for the families and the troops.

"My husband bleeds green," she admitted, "He's military through and through, and it (the past year) was hard for him."

As tough as the past year was, those memories were quickly left in the dust as the families were reunited with their loved ones.

"It's been a long time," said Kenneth Horne, hugging his family. "I'm just ready to be home."

Sergeant First Class Christopher Brooks agreed, giving his family credit for helping him through his deployment.

"If it wasn't for my wife, she's the rock, she's the one who keeps it all together," he explained. "If it wasn't for her, we wouldn't be able to continue on as a family."

Military officials say currently there's no set schedule for another deployment. The Third Infantry Division will be training, reorganizing, and refitting at home for at least another year. As of Saturday, just over 8,000 soldiers have arrived home from Iraq. More soldiers will be returning through mid-February.

Reported by: Melanie A. Ruberti; mruberti@wtoc.com

 

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