Returning soldiers welcomed to East Texas - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Returning soldiers welcomed to East Texas

A rare treat for groups that honor our returning troops , as three East Texas military service personnel return in Gregg county. Early Sunday morning the first plane came into East Texas Regional airport carrying the first soldier to be honored, army specialist Richard Langford of Hallsville. A veteran of Afghanistan and a specialist in ammunition transport, Langford was praised for the tough job he does.

"We do talk but its kind of hard talking to your kid when you hear the tat-tat-tat-tat of gunfire in the background I say you sure you're ok, and he says yeah I'm sure I'm ok," says Langfords' father Ricky.

"I just want to say thank you for showing up and for being here when I needed it. Its been a long time since I've seen my son I'm happy about that. It was a really tough year we lost a lot of good friends," Langford says.

A second plane late afternoon bringing home husband and wife senior airman Eric Jenkins and senior airman Rani Jenkins of White Oak.

"Overwhelming, I wasn't expecting a welcome party at all," says Eric.

Patriot Guard and Welcome Home Soldier members jumped at the chance to give all of them a proper welcome.

"That welcome, it made the year apart worth it, to know that we are appreciated it made everything worth it," Rani says.

"To see the families faces when they see their loved ones getting off those planes to give them a big old hug and tell them we appreciate them it just makes it all worthwhile," says welcome home soldier member Polly Morman.

All the military honored today are home on leave before returning to their units. Langford will be deployed on a second tour to Afghanistan.

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