Hundreds of Fort Hood soldiers return home from deployment

Posted at 8:27 PM, Nov 08, 2017
and last updated 2018-11-03 15:20:01-04

Hundreds of troops from the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team out of Fort Hood arrived home first thing Wednesday morning after serving overseas for nearly a year.

KXXV's Brooke Bednarz returned home with those soldiers after embedding with them for a little over a week and having the chance to see firsthand what it's like for our soldiers to deploy, serve our country overseas and finally return home.

"Nine months is really long."

"Nobody likes to be away from family. Nobody likes to be away from home."

Unfortunately, not all soldiers who return home from deployment are wrapped in hugs and greeted by loved ones at the homecoming ceremony.

"No one is going to be there to greet me on the field, but I'm gonna live in the barracks... the old barracks life, " PFC Austin Van Manen said. 

But, barracks or not, all soldiers were looking forward to returning home.

"You just started counting down the days until you get back home, and then when you finally get on this airplane, it's the greatest feeling," PFC Van Manen added. 

Over 200 Fort Hood soldiers then got to experience the moment they've been waiting for for over nine months.

"Ladies and gentleman, welcome to Killeen, Texas..."

The first step onto American soil was a moment every soldier has been waiting for.

But, for some soldiers, the reunion with the family almost didn't seem real.

"Right now I can touch him, it does. But it seems like we were waiting so long, it feels like forever. But he's here and that's what counts," SSG Jose Becerra's wife said. 

"It's the most important thing in my life... is my family. So I feel loved," SPC Colton Evans said. 

In addition, to be welcomed home by his wife, SPC Evans was surprised by his father.

"I couldn't be any prouder of him," SPC Evans' father said. 

The Greywolf Brigade still has some soldiers back in Kuwait wrapping up the transition to a brigade out of Fort Bliss, but they are expected to fly home and join us at the Great Place in time for the holidays.

While in Kuwait, Greywolf soldiers participated in partner nation training exercises across the Middle East and some even forward deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve — the fight against ISIS. 

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