FORT HOOD, Texas - When Soldiers come home from a deployment to Iraq, nothing will stop their families from meeting them at the welcome ceremony, not even the weather.

With temperatures dipping into the mid-50s and the wind blowing at nearly 20 miles-per-hour, hundreds of family members from the 1st Cavalry Division, the 3rd Signal Brigade and the Army Reserve's 952nd Engineer Company waited patiently Oct. 22 for their Soldiers to walk across Fort Hood's Cooper Field.

Many of the family members waited until the buses carrying their troopers arrived at the field before coming out of the warming tent set up outside the 1st Cavalry Division's headquarters building, but dozens of families, bundled in winter jackets and blankets, braved the wind and cold to make sure they were where they wanted to be when their loved one walked across that field.

Cheryl Mason and Sami Pinal, the mother and fiancAfA, respectively, of Sgt. Greg Mason, with the Army Reserve's Paris, Texas-based 952nd Engineer Company, were one such family, driving in from El Paso to be at the ceremony. The cold weather took Mason by surprise, with temperatures in the 70s in the days prior to the return.

"It was so hot when we drove in," the El Paso native said. Mason considered herself lucky that she had a blanket in the car, and used it to keep herself and Pinal warm while waiting for her son to arrive.

"We are looking forward to having him home," Mason said. She explained that once he comes back home to El Paso, she hopes that he will go on to college and get his degree.

Mason said that he joined the Army Reserve following high school and was getting ready to go college when his unit began doing more training at their headquarters in Paris, and the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif.

"Once they started going to NTC, I knew Iraq was next," she said. When he deployed last year, Mason and Pinal kept in touch with him through instant messengers and by sending a lot of care packages.

Pinal, also of El Paso, said that she also plans to go to college, and that they plan to get married after they both finish school.

Page last updated Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 15:09