Some 48th Brigade soldiers come home for the holidays - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Some 48th Brigade soldiers come home for the holidays

December 1, 2005

Albany - Some military families got an early Christmas present Wednesday morning. A group of soldiers from south Georgia's 48th Brigade came home for a 15 day leave.

18 month old Griffin Gill watched and waited for his dad, a 48th Brigade soldier who's seen his little boy for only five months of his life. A crowd of 48th Brigade families anxiously waited at the Albany airport for the 9:50AM plane from Atlanta. On it, about ten soldiers home for a short leave.

"There's Matt, there's daddy," shouted one woman when the men walked off the plane.

It was an emotional homecoming with hugs, kisses and teary eyes .

Staff Sergeant Johnny Layfield, "This what we've been looking forward to for the last six months."

Layfield was met by a family that's already a little different.

"They've grown," he said looking at his son and daughter.

Comrade Sergeant Phillip Gill finally got a kiss from little Griffin.

Gill said, "I was just ready to come home. Just happy, happy to be here."

His wife Larecia said, "It's hard to believe he's really here. It's hard to imagine that 48 hours ago he was on the other side of the world, it's surreal. We're just very relieved and happy to see him."

For 15 days, these soldiers will soak up the comforts of home - comforts they say most of us take for granted.

"Over here in America, we take a lot of things for granted. If people could see how people have to live over there, it's bad," said Layfield.

"The Middle East is a rough place, but you just do what you have to do. Then come back here, and maybe that will be it," said Gill.

But the 48th Brigade isn't done yet. Fifteen days from now these guys will headed back to Iraq. Their final homecoming will hopefully come this summer.

22 soldiers in the 48th Brigade have been killed. Five of them have been South Georgians.

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