News 12 First at Five / Friday, Sept. 27, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Hugs and kisses everywhere-- everyone trying to make up for the last nine months.
Sitting in Gym #3 at Fort Gordon, mothers, brothers, daugters and wives all anxiously awaited the day they thought might never come.
"I missed him a lot. I wasn't used to him being gone, so I just wanted him to come home," sister Deshaya Miles said.
Battalion soldiers were at the ready, this time battling the urge to race to their loved ones.
"I was like this is going to feel longer than the deployment itself. I was ready to come in here," soldier Douvier Miles said.
Finally he did. Nearly 200 soldiers unloaded the buses and marched into the gym to an uproar of cheers from the family they were so ready to see. But first, the soldiers simply stood in formation, just steps away from their loved ones as they had a welcome home ceremony.
"When he came in the door I just wanted to run to him, but I knew I couldn't. I had to control myself and it was hard. It was hard, it was hard," mother Dena Parker described.
Nearly 200 pairs of boots are back on the homeland, and after nine excruciatingly long months, they're back in their families lives.
"I know when I was a kid, I used to argue and fuss with him all the time. I never wanted to hug him, but when he walked through the door I never wanted to hug him so much more," Deshaya said.
Eyes were wet with tears of joy and relief as families looked past the fear and into the future.
"My stress is over. A lot of sleepless nights, a lot of them," Parker said, feeling the way only a mother could. "I guess maybe back when he took his first steps, when he said his first words, that about what I'm feeling right now."
A feeling soldier Douvier Miles knows well as a new father, but it's a memory he'll never have the chance to make with his daughter.
"She was born last October, and I left in January. She was real young when I left. My daughter started walking like three weeks ago, so I just missed it," Miles said.
It was a moment missed, but now that he's home, a lifetime gained, making this one big happy family.
"I'm just glad to be home. There's nothing better than this feeling," Miles said smiling.