Loved Ones Welcome MPs Home from Afghanistan - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Loved Ones Welcome MPs Home from Afghanistan

Loved ones held signs to welcome home the members of the 385th Military Police Battalion. The unit returned home after 15 months in Afghanistan. Loved ones held signs to welcome home the members of the 385th Military Police Battalion. The unit returned home after 15 months in Afghanistan.
Staff Sgt. Gary Normandin holds his 8-year-old son, Javier. Staff Sgt. Gary Normandin holds his 8-year-old son, Javier.

FORT STEWART, GA (WTOC) - More than 70 Fort Stewart soldiers didn't wait for daylight to return home. They spent more than a year deployed in the war on terror but returned home early Friday morning.

Pound for pound, 8-year-old Javier Normandin may have been the toughest one in the crowd. He was twice as excited as anyone else to welcome home the 385th MP Battalion. Both his mother and father serve in the unit. Javier remained in Hinesville with family friends.

Each family in the stands was proud in their own way. Donna Flynt's daughter was at West Point on September 11, 2001.

"I told her then to really think about her future because the world changed that day," the mother recalled. "She said she was even more committed to this then."

Some had traveled cross country and have waited days to welcome their soldiers home.

The families waited day by day, hour by hour this week for them to come home. A few minutes in the cold didn't matter Friday morning.

The 385th was supposed to be home Thursday, February 14. Many in the crowd still carried red heart balloons and said they'd simply celebrate Valentine's Day one day late.

"Oh yeah, every day is Valentine's Day, every day," explained Army wife Patricia Hoyme with a laugh.

In the crowd Javier, spotted Mom and Dad immediately when they marched through the fog. After a quick song, he was off like a jackrabbit straight to them for mushy kisses from Mom and a big hug from Dad.

"We looked out for each other over there but it was also hard for Javy and he had to deal with that on a daily basis," said Staff Sgt. Gary Normandin.

Mom Nina was too busy to answer questions, doting on a son she won't let out of her sight for a while.

The 385th MPs deployed to Afghanistan in November of 2006. They helped train the country's border and highway police forces.

Reported by: Dal Cannady, dcannady@wtoc.com 

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