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Shaking hands
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Together again
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A cool breeze sweeps over Fort Jackson Oct. 12, as a tall, heavyset man makes his way through the crowd of Families gathered at Hilton Field.

Just like everyone else here, Eldon Granger is anxious for the moment to get a first glimpse of

his Soldier after 10 long weeks. Although his goal is the same as the people around him, his long gray beard -- falling around the sides of his mouth like a wishbone -- and stocky frame make Eldon stand out in the crowd.

In his pursuit toward the bleachers to find a seat, he watches as the colors of the U.S. states and territories flags dance in the air and glances at the sculpture of Andrew Jackson towering in front of a

massive sign announcing that "Victory Starts Here" at Fort Jackson.

Eldon thinks to himself: "I don't remember any of this. None of this looks familiar."

It's been nearly 40 years since Eldon's been on the cantonment that help transform him from a

civilian into a Soldier. His reunion with Fort Jackson was brought on by his grandson, who attended

Basic Combat Training at the same place Eldon did in 1977.

"It couldn't have been a prouder moment, when he said he was going to join," said Eldon.

"The cost of the joining the military is tough, but I know he's strong enough to do good."

Eldon's grandson, Pvt. Robert "Robbie" Pollard III, announced he was going to join the Army last year after performing in the marching band at his final high school home football game. His grandparents came to Tennessee from Colorado to watch him play.

"It wasn't a surprise to anyone that I was going to join," said Robbie. "I've been talking about doing it forever. "

His grandmother, Camie Woodard, remembers the first time Robbie mentioned wanting to join the military.

"He had to be about 7 or 8 and he says I want to join the military, but not the Army," she said. "He said my dad is in the Army and I want to do something better than him."

But Robbie ending up joining anyway, making him the third man in the family to become a Soldier while navigating through the hot, humid weather that Fort Jackson is known for.

Robbie's father, Robert "Eddie" Pollard Jr., is proud that his son is following in his footsteps.

"I couldn't be happier," he said.