Happy reunions abound at Ft. Stewart - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Happy reunions abound at Ft. Stewart

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April 20, 2006

Ft. Stewart -- 200 South Georgia National Guardsmen are reunited with their families at Ft. Stewart, and long embraces are the order of the day for troops as they return from an eleven month tour in Iraq.

The grandstands at Cottrell Field are empty now, and members of the 121st Regiment, part of the 48th Brigade, based in Albany and Valdosta, are spending time with their families, but earlier this afternoon the energy at Cottrell Field as those troops arrived was high.

Armed with signs the hoped would lead the way, the Watts family got a front row seat to welcome home the troops. "A little bit of anxiety, eagerness, but a lot of excitement," said Soldier's Wife Michelle Watts.

 It had been 18 months since they'd seen Sergeant Sam Watts, and his wife Michelle was ready.

Michelle, "I ve been training all week. I ve been doing stretches, getting ready," she said. So when the time came, she wouldn't waste a minute.  "Sam Watts, where are you???"

The search was on through a sea of 300 soldiers, and finally, he was home.  "Sam!" she screams.

Hugs, kisses, and a family prayer quickly brought this family back together. "You can t even put it into words to something suchas that, it's just speechless" said Sgt. Sam Watts of the 121st Regiment.

And as soldiers soaked in the familiar surroundings it was hard to sum up this exciting day, 11 months in the making. Sam said, "We're blessed. It's a beautiful feeling to be home to actually smell grass, see trees, and freedom." 

Soldiers got a little time with their families before they were bussed  back to their barracks, while the soldiers are debriefed. 

This homecoming has been exciting, but it's also been frustrating for some Georgia families because of some flight delays. A group of the 121st was expected to arrive here last night, but delays again today have pushed that flight back until late tonight.

So for those families, the anxiety continues.

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