Hundreds of 4-25 brigade soldiers return to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson

 JBER soldiers return home
JBER soldiers return home (KTUU)
Published: May. 18, 2018 at 8:47 PM AKDT
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Friends and family of the Spartan Brigade Paratroopers arriving at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Friday night had long been eagerly awaiting the return of their loved ones.



Some of the audience members anticipating the arrival were anxious.

"It'll be a transition, because my son hasn't seen his dad for eight months," said Hansen Chavez, who was awaiting the soldier's return Friday.

Others were too excited to feel much of anything but glee.

"This is our fourth deployment," said Teresa Martin, who — along with her son and young daughter — was looking forward to her husband's return. "You're never used to the excitement, and the butterflies, and the first kiss."

The moment friends and family were awaiting for what felt like a lifetime finally arrived Friday, with the door to Hangar 1 at JBER opening to reveal the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division soldiers who'd finally returned to U.S. soil.

"For the most part, everyone has been on a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan," said U.S. Army Maj. Christopher James Hart. "Different locations in Afghanistan, 25 locations in some way, shape or form."

"We understand the importance of making sure the Afghans are capable of doing this mission for the long haul," he said.

As the returning soldiers entered the hangar in formation, cheers from the audience erupted.

"We just want to say 'Thank You' to all the families that have come out, and for all the support they've given us the past nine months," Hart said. "Whether it was the letters, packages, and everything we received, it really did help."

"You saw the soldiers light up while they were down range," he said.

And just like that, a whole room was lit up as another group of family and friends were reunited with their soldiers, grateful for the safe return of their loved ones.

Video by Channel 2 photojournalist Phil Walczak.