FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Six Soldiers from the 42nd Medical Detachment celebrated their safe return home from Iraq Aug. 11 during a ceremony held at Army Community Service.

The 42nd Medical Detachment (Optometry) was activated May 14, 2008, and had deployed last August in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Their mission was to provide optometry support and vision care services to Soldiers.

"They did their mission with poise, professionalism and dedication to all the Soldiers they cared for," said guest speaker Col. Bruce McVeigh, commander of the First Medical Brigade, Fort Hood. "Congratulations for a job well done."

During their year of deployment, the 42nd Medical Detachment treated more than 7,000 patients and distributed almost 5,000 pairs of eyeglasses, McVeigh added.

"We thank you all for your sacrifice; being without your loved ones for the past year," the colonel said. "There is no doubt our military Families of today are the real unsung heroes in support of our Soldiers worldwide.

"Remember it takes time to get back to things where you left them," McVeigh said as he reminded the Soldiers to go slow when integrating back home. "Use the plethora of resources around you when you may need help."

The Soldiers arrived in San Antonio Aug. 10.

"It was a long trip back; longer than normal," Spc. Karl Abian said. "It was a three-day process to get back home."

When Abian left last year his wife, Yadi, was eight months pregnant. The couple now has a baby girl.

"I'm happy to be home to spend time with my little girl and my wife," he said.

Last year Spc. Thomas Kamo and his wife, Victoria, were just married.

"I'm ecstatic to have him back," Victoria said. "It's almost as if we just picked up where we left off. I took it really hard when he left, but now everything is good. I'm happy, he's happy; it's good."