PHOENIX - It was homecoming today for members of the Arizona National Guard. Family welcomed home service members who returned to the Valley from Afghanistan.
It was an emotional day for these soldiers and their families. These soldiers have been gone for about a year. We spoke with one who got to hold his new granddaughter for the first time.
This is the day Regina Garland has been waiting nearly a year for.
"The first couple of months are always the hardest, and then you get in your own schedule and then you get used to dealing with everything on your won," Garland said. "It's exciting, nerve-inducing, [and] you get butterflies.
Garland's husband, Brandon Garland, is part of a group of Arizona Army National Guard soldiers with the 856th Military Police Company. Detachment 2 returned home Wednesday from their deployment to Afghanistan. This is Brandon's third tour, but his homecoming is a bit different. On Wednesday, he got to meet and hold his 3-month granddaughter, Avery, for the very first time.
"He'll probably go to her first," said Daisy Morrison, Brandon's daughter. "He's super excited to see her."
Morrison, Avery's mom, was right.
"I don't even know how to explain holding my granddaughter for the first time," Brandon said. "It's pretty amazing."
The family has stayed connected through modern-day technology, but they say there's nothing quite like the real thing, being back in each other's arms.
"It's amazing, it's exciting," Brandon said. "It's been a long couple of years with the train up and everything else, so she's done without me for quite a while."
Brandon says aside from spending time with his family, the number one thing he wants to do is catch up on sleep.