FORT HOOD, Texas— Move that bus! These words echoed as a white bus blocked a group of soldiers, who recently redeployed from Afghanistan.
Family, friends, and the Fort Hood community greeted Troopers assigned to the 4th “Long Knife” Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, in a welcome home ceremony June 20 at Cooper Field, here.
Despite the ceremony time barely tip toeing past midnight, loved ones happily held welcome home signs and awaited to see their soldier march across the field.
Jessica Cyr, who has been married for almost four years, said the whole process was very overwhelming.
“I’m finally relieved,” said Cyr. “Yesterday was my birthday. This is the best gift the military has ever given me.”
Units hold welcome home ceremonies to formally welcome home Soldiers who have completed their deployment overseas.
Cyr knows the process all to well who attended one, two-years ago, when her husband redeployed from Iraq.
“This is good for the kids. My boys still remember from last time. Every time we ride past the field they yell, ‘that’s where we picked up daddy,” she added.
The soldiers completed a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan where they focused on advising and assisting the Afghan National Army.
Sgt. Shawn Cyr, an infantryman assigned to Company B, 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 4th BCT, 1st Cav. Div., served as a team leader on a security force advise and assist team.
“I’m so tired right now,” Shawn stated.
He said overall the experience for the welcome home ceremony was the same except he has never been on torch.
“I’m use to about 400 Soldiers returning home with me not just 80. It’s (ceremony) a lot smaller,” he said.
From large Buzz Light Year balloons to one Family dressed up in Ninja Turtle attire, Families had an array of things to stand out amongst the crowd so their soldier would recognize them.
Staff Sgt. Jaime Rodriguez, a forward observer assigned to 2nd Bn., 7th Cav. Reg., didn’t need any costumes to recognize his Family. More than 30 family members gathered on the field to greet the native of Uvalde, Texas.
“It feels great to be back home,” Rodriguez said.
With the multiple embraces, Rodriguez stated, “It always feels good to know when I get home that someone will be here.”
As families happily headed to their vehicles with their loved ones finally by their side, the Rodriguez Family gathered for a group photo. When asked how it felt to have her son home, a teary eyed mother stated, “I can’t find the words to describe it. I‘m just glad he made it home.”
Long Knife soldiers will continue to redeploy to Fort Hood over the next few months. Ceremony times will be provided to the public once they become available.