• Capt. Matthew Pride, commander, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 555th Engineer Brigade, hugs his children during a homecoming ceremony at Wilson Sports and Fitness Center on JBLM, Oct. 4. Pride returned home from a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

    555th Engineer Brigade redeploys

    Capt. Matthew Pride, commander, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 555th Engineer Brigade, hugs his children during a homecoming ceremony at Wilson Sports and Fitness Center on JBLM, Oct. 4. Pride returned home from a nine-month deployment to...

  • Amanda and her one year old daughter, Sophia, welcome home husband and father, Pfc. Alexander Avila, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 555th Engineer Brigade, with a smooch on the lips at Wilson Sports and Fitness Center, Oct. 4. The 555th Engineer Bde., HHC, completed a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

    555th Engineer Brigade redeploys

    Amanda and her one year old daughter, Sophia, welcome home husband and father, Pfc. Alexander Avila, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 555th Engineer Brigade, with a smooch on the lips at Wilson Sports and Fitness Center, Oct. 4. The 555th...

  • Soldiers of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 555th Engineer Brigade, render salutes while the band plays the national anthem during a homecoming ceremony at Wilson Sports and Fitness Center, Oct. 4. The 555th Engineer Bde., HHC, completed a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

    555th Engineer Brigade redeploys

    Soldiers of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 555th Engineer Brigade, render salutes while the band plays the national anthem during a homecoming ceremony at Wilson Sports and Fitness Center, Oct. 4. The 555th Engineer Bde., HHC, completed a...

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. - Approximately 200 soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 555th Engineer Brigade, 7th Infantry Division, and the advance party from the 864th Engineer Battalion, returned home to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., after a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan, Oct. 4.

While deployed, the 555th Engineer Bde. supported Operation Enduring Freedom by serving as a member of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.

Family and friends waited at Wilson Sports & Fitness Center on North Fort while their soldiers turned in weapons at McChord Air Field.

Although the troops had finally returned from their deployment, reuniting with their loved ones would have to wait a little longer.

An audio-visual linkup with cameras at the airfield allowed the crowd to watch the soldiers as they stepped off their plane. Family members cheered as they saw their familiar faces.

"It is beyond words how I feel right now, our family is finally going to be complete and we can get back to a normal routine," said Christina, wife of Capt. Matthew Pride, commander, HHC. "Our kids will finally have their father and playmate back."

As time passed, a band performed for the crowd while the kids ran around the gym getting to know one another.

Finally, the long-awaited announcement came over the public address system: the soldiers were at the gates and would be arriving in minutes.

Amanda and her one-year-old daughter, Sophia, anxiously waited to welcome home her husband, Pfc. Alexander Avila, HHC, 555th En Bde. after months apart.

"It's been really hard, this is our first deployment and our first child," said Avila. "When he left she was only three months old and it was the worse feeling. I was always worried about him and now I don't have to be anymore because he's back home."

When the music concluded, the soldiers marched into the gym and formed up behind a large curtain which separated them from their loved ones. Everyone in the crowd stood up and cheered for their loved ones.

Before the Soldiers scattered to their awaiting family members, Col. Nicholas Katers, commander, 555th Engineer Bde., addressed the returning Soldiers to welcome them back home.

The short speech ended with the command "dismissed."

Family members rushed from the stands to welcome their Soldiers home. Children were hoisted into their parents' arms, husbands kissed wives, and siblings, in-laws, and friends were finally together at last.

Amanda ran to her husband and gave him a kiss she had been waiting nine months to give.

Page last updated Tue October 8th, 2013 at 00:00