Soldier Returns From War In Time For Fourth - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

07/04/03 - Longview

Soldier Returns From War In Time For Fourth

"This weekend is a big do-nothing weekend. I'm just going to enjoy my family."

The "Sandman" to his family -- Thomas Nelson is finally home.

"I'm just planning some golf, some relaxing, and a little yardwork," he says.

After five months in the desert, he looks back on his first deployment after being in the reserves for thirty years.

"[It was] dusty and hot. It was dirty. You can't keep anything clean."

That, especially since the job of his Red Horse Unit is to build and repair.  They did both, starting by building a pad for explosives to be loaded onto planes, bound for Baghdad.

The war was underway and going well.  Red Horse wasn't far behind.

"After we left Oman, and went to Baghdad, we got to patch the holes that the bombs made that we delivered the planes in the first place."

Tom's wife, Linda was in Longview, praying, and hoping for him to come home.

"It was an interesting growth process for me," Linda says, as she had the new man of the house... Jake the Dog, and friends for comfort. The calls from her man at war were spotty.

Thomas: "You might get a five minute conversation over a twenty minute period of time by redialing."

Finally last month, Linda's phone rang.  It was hard to hear. But, she heard Tom say he was on his way.  Then another call this week.

Linda: "Monday, I thought he was coming home soon. Tuesday, I thought he was coming home in a few days, and Wwednesday morning on my way to work they said he'll be home tonight."

Now the yellow ribbons will be coming down, and Tom will try to get some down time.

Tom: "Being out in the green grass, and enjoy the time, do what I want to do and relax."

"It's so nice having him home, it's so nice having him safe," Linda adds.

Tom says he's served his country and his proud. His long career in the reserves will end later this year.

Reported by Morgan Palmer.

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