By U.S. ArmyApril 8, 2009
FORT MEADE, MD Aca,!" Sgt. Isidro Ruiz Jr. lost a bet Friday.
Deployed for the past six months in Iraq, the 29-year-old bet fellow returning Soldiers that a reunion with his family on Friday night wouldnA,A1t bring him to tears.
But chances seemed slim for Ruiz to win that wager after the smiling sergeant from the 742nd Military Intelligence Brigade "Mad Dawg" detachment was dismissed from formation.
Through the aisles of chairs filled with families and friends ready to greet the returning Soldiers, Ruiz\'s 2-year-old daughter Arianna darted to her Daddy's arms.
Once Ruiz lifted the knee-high child, bystanders could clearly see who had won the bet.
"It broke me down," he said. "I canA,A1t lie."
Ruiz was one of 17 Soldiers from the detachment who returned to a heroes' welcome in McGill Training Center.
But he wasn't the only one overwhelmed by the moment. Battle buddies Pfc.Jeremiah Voss and Spc. Nathan Hudson each found a surprise after they were released from their unit. Out of the crowd gathered to greet the Soldiers emerged both men' s fiancees, Nikki Perryman and Misty Lenard.
"To come back here and think I would just be watching family and friends reunite and [then] see her has blown my mind," Voss said. "When I got here I was tired, but now I'm re-energized." For Perryman, who had spent months communicating with her fiance electronically, holding Voss in the flesh was a joy.
"I am just completely glad to be back in his arms," the 24-year-old said.
"To see his face when he saw I was here was amazing." With his fiancee in his arms, Hudson said he didn't have any firm plans on what he wanted to do since his return. But whatever he did would include Perryman.
"I just want to go out and do stuff with her or do nothing," he said. "Curling up on the couch to watch a bad movie sounds good."
The homecoming was held after the Soldiers completed what leaders in the 742nd MI Brigade described as important work during their time overseas. The Soldiers were integrated into combat brigades, where they assisted in the capture of more than 150 insurgents, including several people of high value to the military, said Capt. Nadine King, 742nd MI commander. "They were using some of the most sensitive intelligence systems to capture the bad guys," she said.
Not everyone who was deployed has returned yet. Two Soldiers volunteered to extend their stay, said Capt. Louis Stangland, 742nd MI rear detachment commander, who was responsible for managing the unit's needs during the deployment.
"I think it's awesome," he said. "You do six months in country and you decide to stay on another six [months]. It speaks volumes."