Home for the Holidays: 160 National Guard soldiers back from Afghanistan

C. H. Terrell Academy students

Students from C. H. Terrell Academy welcome the 877th Engineering Company home after a year's deployment. (WRDW-TV / Dec. 12, 2011)

News 12 at 11 o'clock / Monday, Dec. 12, 2011

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The men and women of the 877th Engineering Company are back on American soil and in the arms of their loved ones.

Supporters lined the streets of downtown Augusta to welcome them home as they made their way to the National Guard Armory to be reunited with friends and family.

Debbie Stockholm waited for her brother, Sgt. Richard Miller.

"I haven't seen him since December of last year, that's when they left," she said.

Ever since, she's been waiting for this moment.

"It's been hard for all of us just knowing that he's not around for the holidays and birthdays," she said.

In the formation that came down Milledge Road Monday afternoon was Stockholm's brother, Sgt. Miller.

"We are just glad to see him come home finally," Stockholm said.

With Afghanistan in the rear-view mirror, they marched into the National Guard Armory to cheers.

Seven thousand miles later, the soldiers were just feet and a presentation away from family.

"They were constantly in enemy contact, however, we got all of our 877th engineers back to Georgia," said Lt. Colonel Eduardo Granados of the 877th Engineering Company.

Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver thanked the men and women for their service.

Then, it was time to finally reunite and time for Stockholm's family to look for their two soldiers.

Sgt. Miller spotted his wife and son and then his brother-in-law spotted his wife.

"I missed everybody, especially my little man here. He grew a foot since I left, haven't you Luke?" Miller said.

Lt. Colonel Granados said being in the military is a very tough job.

"You get used it, you get used to the work load, you get used to the danger, but one thing you never get used to, though, is being away from your family," he said.

Two sisters thrilled to have their husbands and so are hundreds more. Christmas came early for these families.

Tuesday is the 375th Birthday for the National Guard, making it the country's oldest military organization.

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