FORT STEWART, GA (WTOC) - It was a rousing welcome home for 3rd ID soldiers today. After more than a year deployed, it was another emotional homecoming at Fort Stewart.
Mario and Alma Villarreal have been without their oldest son for 15 months.
"From a father's point of view, it's a lifetime," said Mario.
"Oh it's been forever. I'm just counting every second now," said Alma.
They flew all the way from California to wait in a gymnasium full of eager family, friends and loved ones of the 3rd ID's 293rd.
Things have been tough for this father, who is a police officer and says his son joined the military in part to one day follow in his footsteps.
"I would've wished he went to college but he thought joining the military would be a good thing for him, so when he got out he could be a police officer," said Villarreal.
This is his son's first deployment.
"It's hard but we love him," said Villarreal.
You could tell just how proud they were the moment they saw Enrique. And Enrique was just as happy.
"Probably the greatest moment of my life up until this point," he told us. "It was a long 15 months and it's just worth it, coming home and seeing their faces. I'm excited about washing the dishes and mowing the lawn, all of that. It's better than being in Iraq."
Pfc. Villarreal will go back to California for two weeks and then it's back to work.