Soldier Gets A Welcome Reception At The Airport - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Soldier Gets A Welcome Reception At The Airport

An East Texas marine reserve gets quite a surprise as he comes back home after serving overseas.   U.S. Navy Store Keeper Chief Lance Youngblood has spent the last eight months in Iraq.   Today, friends, family and neighbors gathered at Tyler Pounds Regional Airport for his arrival. KLTV 7 News was there as he and his family saw each other during their long-awaited reunion.

"Just minutes. It's been eight and a half months and now it's just minutes, so it's pretty exciting," said Cynthia Youngblood, Chief Youngblood's wife, just moments before his arrival.

The wait finally came to an end this afternoon when Chief Youngblood walked through the airport exit gate and embraced his loved ones. Friends, family, neighbors and co-workers showed up with balloons, signs, and American flags to welcome him back. "I knew my brother and them would be here but not everybody else," said Youngblood.  

The 43-year-old has been in the Navy reserves for 16 years and this is his second tour of duty.   Friends say they would e-mail Youngblood about once a week to show they were behind him. "Just wanted to give him support and what he does for our country and serving and he's been gone for so long," said Tommy Nichols, Youngblood's childhood friend.

Youngblood jobs is to order parts and supplies to support troops.   Youngblood says it was hard to leave his family and his job behind. "As a reservist, leaving your normal, every-day life and take off and go, it is a challenge and then doing a job you're not doing all the time," said Youngblood.

Youngblood says he plans to spend the next two weeks, resting and enjoying the company of family and friends. Youngblood says there's a possibility he could get sent out for a third tour of duty but that will not be any time soon. He says he plans to retire from the reserves in four years.

Oralia Ortega, Reporting.


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