'Welcome home' surprise for soldier and family

LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - By Bob Hallmark - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email | Twitter

LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - It was a wild scramble to an East Texas airport Friday, as family and well-wishers raced to give a soldier returning from Afghanistan a proper welcome home.

Ten minutes prior to the plane's arrival, East Texas Regional Airport was almost empty, but when Sergeant Tanner Bagley arrived, family, Welcome Home Soldier and Patriot Guard members were there to give him a familiar welcome.

"I was pretty surprised," said Tanner. "It gives me a great sense of appreciation for what we've been doing...I thought I was going to arrive as my final destination Dallas, but at the last minute it was changed to Longview."

A member of the Army's 321st Intelligence Battalion, Bagley at the last minute called his family saying he was on a flight home. In a little over an hour, Welcome Home Soldier and Patriot Guard members dropped what they were doing and got to the airport.

"We were as surprised as he is we didn't know this was going on," said Larry Bagley, Tanner's father. "It's family and friends that get you through this...He called three times and it changed every time he called."

It was a celebration that touched Tanner and his family.

"I am the happiest mom right now in Longview, Texas," said Sherry, Tanner's mom. "We're very proud of him for wanting to do something for our country and very appreciative that he's home safe."

"I'm home for good right now," said Tanner.

Sergeant Tanner Bagley has served six years in the Army, tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and is out now and home for good.

Copyright 2010 KLTV. All rights reserved.