Spc. Cruz Lopez, a medic with 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division embraces his son Jaiden on Cooper Field in front of the division's headquarters building. Jaiden was born in July while Lopez was on his two week mid-tour leave from Mosul, Iraq where he was deployed.

FORT HOOD, Texas - Several homecoming ceremonies for 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division were held on Cooper Field in front of the division's headquarters building last week.

People brought various items to the ceremonies like colorful signs, the Family pet, a surprise relative or a baby that was born while dad was in Iraq.

Claire Borchardt gave birth to her son, Austin, in May while her husband, Sgt. Aaron Borchardt was in Mosul, Iraq, with G Company, 2nd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment. Aaron saw his son for the first time at the homecoming ceremony for his flight Nov. 4.

"It's great being home. He's the most beautiful thing I've seen. I'm so glad to be reunited with my Family," Aaron said.

Claire said she admired her husband's strength in being away from home for their son's birth.

"I couldn't imagine missing the birth of my child and then coming home and seeing them for the first time at six months old. I'm just glad to have him home so the baby can start his life with his dad the way it should be," Claire said.

Some Soldiers were able to arrange for their mid-tour leave to fall on their wives' due date. Spc. Cruz Lopez, a medic with D Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment was home for the birth of his second child, Jaiden in July, but returned to Mosul two weeks later.

"I felt lucky. I always call myself the luckiest guy I know, but to make it in time to see the birth was pretty amazing. I'm glad my (rest and recuperation) wasn't just sitting around doing nothing, I'm glad it was something significant," Cruz said.

His wife, Whitney, experienced feelings of gratitude and relief while her husband was home on his mid-tour leave.

"It was a lot of work by myself, so to not be alone that first couple of weeks with the new baby and to have him here to help me was so relieving," she said.

Some Soldiers came home to their babies and felt it was the culmination of their deployment.

"It's the whole point of why we go over there to begin with. I'm really excited! I get a chance to know him and for him to know me and to hang out with my wife and Family," 1st Lt. Michael Hefti said. Hefti is the executive officer of B Troop, 6th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment and saw his son Titus for the first time Nov. 7.

When asked what he thought of his son, Hefti said, "I think he's cute and adorable and looks like me."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16