FORT HOOD, Texas - Christmas is almost upon the 1st Cavalry Division and thousands of military families are wishing one special Christmas wish - to have their Soldier home from Iraq for the holidays.

The flights and ceremonies are stacking up, families are getting calls that there Soldiers are on the way, and before Christmas is over, several hundred more Soldiers will be home with their families.

One particular Soldier who will be spending Christmas with his wife, Wendy, and their two daughters, is Maj. Gen. Joseph F. Fil Jr., the commanding general of the 1st Cavalry Division, who arrived home Dec. 20 and spoke to the troopers and families during the homecoming ceremony.

Fil, who hails from Portola Valley, Calif., said "It has been a long 15 months and I am very proud of all the hard work you have done. It is wonderful to see all you again."

Following a 15-month tour in Iraq as the Multi-National Division - Baghdad commander, Fil is proud of all the First Team has done and continues to do in Iraq.

Another family that will have their Soldier home for the holidays is the Montgomery family.

"Aaron is the third of our five children, said Sgt. 1st Class Stephen Montgomery, of the 20th Special Forces Group, which is based out of Louisville, Ky.

"I have been to Iraq once and Afghanistan twice, so being able to share and understand each other's experiences is something that will be special between the two of us. It will also be a big part of his readjustment process. Being able to talk to someone and know that they understand what you have experienced is a very important. But the one thing I want to say right now is 'Welcome Home,'" Montgomery said.

Before releasing the families to go find their loved ones in the crowd of more than 200 Soldiers, Fil told the families why he is so very proud of all the 1st Cavalry Division Soldiers.

"This is now two tours to Iraq that the 1st Cavalry Division has completed," said Fil, "and I strongly believe that the progress that we have placed in motion will continue long after we have left, and that Iraq will never go back to the way it was before we arrived because of the work all of you have done."

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