After a year away from loved ones, about 600 soldiers have returned to the arms of loved ones Wednesday and Thursday.
Beginning Wednesday morning, and wrapping up Thursday morning when the final group of soldiers marches into the Special Events Center at Fort Carson, families have been reunited after a year apart. Two hundred and fifty soldiers arrived at 8 a.m. Wednesday, while 120 returned late Wednesday night.
"It's been a long time. We miss our son," said the Enslicks. For them, it's their first homecoming. Their son Justin came home from his first deployment.
Families of the final 250 soldiers scheduled to arrive at 6:30 a.m. found themselves dealing with a combination of excitement and exasperation, as the homecoming time got delayed by 15-20 minutes several times in the final hour, before the soldiers finally marched in before an ecstatic crowd shortly after 7:30 a.m.
"He missed a lot of family events," said one woman who was waiting for her husband to come home. "It''s been tough."
For families, the wait can be excruciating--but that all fades away the moment they see their soldier again for the first time, when they know the long absence is finally over.
One boy, whose father came home Thursday morning, started crying as he waited for his dad to be released to him. Saluting the soldiers as they were lined up, he then worked his way through the crowd to find his dad--and started crying even more when he got to give him a big hug.
All of the returning soldiers are from the 3rd BCT, 4th ID.
These soldiers spent a year in Iraq, working to help Iraqi soldiers, border patrol and police.