Home for the holidays: 3 soldiers meet daughters for first time

Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013; News 12 at 11 o'clock

FORT GORDON, Ga. (WRDW) -- Christmas came early for dozens of local families. 30 soldiers have been reunited with their families after five months in Afghanistan, and a lot can happen in five months.

Danielle Hinton couldn't make it to her husband's send off ceremony.

"When he came here, she laughed, "I went to the hospital, so we went our different ways that morning, " Hinton said.

Deployment day had become labor day. Little Amani's dad had already left by the time she had arrived.

"I guess when duty calls, you gotta go. So he had to go, " she said.

Amani has been waiting her whole life for this day, and as the 30 Soldiers of Alpha Company, 67th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 35th Signal Brigade made their way into the room, she'd have to wait a little more.

After a brief ceremony and an explanation of their mission, the moment finally came.

Specialist Alex Hinton could barely contain his excitement. "It's too much, I can't explain it," he said.

Meanwhile, two other fathers were also meeting their little girls for the very first time. "It doesn't really hit you until you get home and you actually see it, it kinda seemed like it wasn't really real. But it's something," said Specialist Benedict.

The fathers have all seen their daughters on Skype, but seeing them in person is a Christmas wish come true.

Summer Schroder was in the middle of telling us all about that when the soldiers started walking in. Her husband is also meeting the couple's daughter for the first time.

It's a moment these soldiers will ever forget.

This moment is also a gift. The group was originally supposed to stay in Afghanistan for a couple more months, but instead, they get to be home in time for the holidays.

"I think it's the best Christmas present ever," said Danielle.

The other 30 soldiers out of the group of 60 are returning Wednesday morning, and as chance would have it, another father will also be meeting his baby for the first time too.

Again, it's amazing what can happen in five months.

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