For the past year, they've fought off insurgents on the ground in Iraq, but now, they are back with their families. Dozens of Texas national guardsmen and women came home to Kilgore Today. Anxiously waiting at East Texas Regional Airport, many family members had not seen their loved ones since they deployed to Iraq last year.
"My husband has been gone for a year. It's a little tuff with three kids but we've managed," said Marza Canales. Charlotte Hammacher drove eight hours from Corpus Christi, to reunite with her husband. "We got married August 14th of last year, and they shipped him of to Iraq ten days latter so, I'm excited to see him. Its been rough nights. I'm just going to give him the biggest hug and the biggest kiss that I have ever given anybody," said Hammacher.
Finally the wait was over, and the moment they've looked forward to, for over a year was here. As the plane touched down on the runway of East Texas Regional Airport, the anticipation was finally over. "I was counting the days down. It got down to day zero and here we are," said Hammacher. "With flags and signs in their hand to show support. Supporters who had no connection to the soldiers, showed up to the Kilgore armory to welcome the troops. "We think it's important for the soldiers to know that they are appreciated because, a lot of times they're not and we want them to know that we do appreciate them,"said Ruben Martin.
For the guardsmen, they've done what they've been asked to do and feel glad to be appreciated. "It's a wonderful feeling, it's good to know that people care about us," said Sgt. Theodore Hammacher. "We've got very good soldiers. They've went through a lot of adversity but they pushed through. We've grown as a family, so I'm real proud of my guys," said Sgt. Hammacher.
You can welcome the soldiers home at a ceremony this Saturday. The celebration starts at 9a.m. in the Masters gym at Kilgore College.