3rd ABCT Soldiers, Families reunited after deployment
February 7, 2013
FORT BENNING, Ga. (Feb. 6, 2013) -- It was an emotional scene Friday at Freedom Hall, as about 250 Soldiers from the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, were reunited with their friends and Families after a seven-month deployment to Kuwait.
For some, the welcome home ceremony was more emotional than it was for others.
Spc. Jeremy Wood was able to hold his son Isaac, who is less than 2 months old, for the first time as his wife Alexis looked on.
"I'm speechless," Wood said. "This is the best thing I've ever done in my life. It's amazing. It was just a long deployment. What pushed me through was this guy right here. I just knew every day was another day closer to getting to come home to him."
Family members waiting for their Soldier to return home were excited that the deployment was at an end, though some had more experience in dealing with deployment than others.
Michelle Delaney, wife of Spc. Daniel Delaney, was glad to see her husband's second deployment come to an end, and said this deployment was easier for her than his first.
"His first deployment was Iraq, and with him being in Kuwait this time, it was nice knowing that he wasn't in danger 24-7," Delaney said.
With their Soldiers overseas, many of the Family members also turned to each other for support during their absence.
"It's been a lot better since I have friends," Delaney said. "All the wives of the Soldiers have kind of meshed together. It's been hard, but having them has made it a lot better than it could have been."
Staff Sgt. Rio Chambers, returning home from his first deployment, said being in Kuwait was a positive experience for him and the rest of the Soldiers.
"It was a great experience," Chambers said. "There was a lot of training. The Soldiers worked hard, and no harm came to us. Everybody is home safe, and I'm just happy to see my Family."
Even though the Soldiers and Families had waited for months to be reunited, Chambers said the anticipation only grew in the moments leading up to the welcome home ceremony.
"The plane ride was the longest I've ever been on," Chambers said. "Just the anticipation and the wait to see everybody was awful. Then, when you get here, you have to wait some more. Even though it's a few seconds, standing outside when you know everybody is in here waiting on you is tough, too."
Chambers' wife, Precious Chambers, said her husband's deployment was difficult for their young son, Rio Chambers Jr.
"He didn't take it so well," Precious Chambers said. "This was his first time being apart from his dad, so I don't think he understood that he would be gone a long time. It could have been longer, but I think seven months was enough for us."
With the deployment now behind them, the Soldiers and their Families can turn their attention to getting back into the swing of everyday life.
Delaney said she was somewhat nervous about having her husband back at home.
"We just plan on pretty much getting to know each other again," Delaney said. "I'm nervous. It almost feels like I'm going on a blind date again. We met on a blind date, and that nervous feeling is back. My hands are sweaty and I'm shaking."
Command Sgt. Maj. Alan Hummel said the brigade combat team's mission in Kuwait involved partnership training with Kuwaiti forces as part of Operation Spartan Shield.