National Guard member gets surprise welcome home - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

National Guard member gets surprise welcome home

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GREGG COUNTY, TX (KLTV) -

A member of the Army National Guard got the welcome home of a lifetime Tuesday night at an East Texas airport.

Private First Class Matthew Monie is from Shreveport and was originally set to land in Gregg County with 14 other National Guard members.

Plane trouble changed the group's plans and everyone else caught a flight to Louisiana, leaving all of the attention on Monie.

"It was rather overwhelming. It kind of gets you right here," said Monie as he pointed to his heart.

Monie spent the last nine months serving as a military police officer in Guantanamo Bay.

He was not expecting a large group of people to be waiting for him at the East Texas Regional Airport, "Can't kind of pass it off on to the next guy too well when there's not another 130 people with you."

Local veterans say they want every soldier to get the welcome home they never had.

"We meet them if they're coming in on the tarmac in a casket or if they walk in, either way, we're right here every time," says Ron Frey, a Vietnam veteran.

Monie says he appreciates everyone's support but holding his family is the moment he's been waiting for, "Seeing my son, my wife, just being back with the family."

His next plan?

"Sleeping in," Monie says with a laugh.

His wife says she isn't sure about that, but she sure is glad to have him home.

Monie has 43 days of paid leave from the National Guard. He says if he does not re-enlist he will be finished with his service in May.

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