PHOENIX (FOX 10) - Nearly 400 citizen-soldiers of the Arizona National Guard are finally home spending time with their families after a long deployment. Our cameras were there for the special reunions.
It was a beautiful day at Papago Park Military Reservation where the families of nearly 400 citizen-soldiers waiting for that big hug. It's been nearly 11 months - time that felt much longer to loved ones.
After marking the days off their calendars, these families don't need to count anymore. The 1-158th Bushmasters Infantry Battalion is back home after one more march as a unit toward their loved ones who have waited almost a year.
Finally hugging mom and dad, husbands and wives are reunited. Kids running into their arms - one baby has waited her whole life to meet dad.
"[This is the] first time I get to meet my little girl, she was born in November," said Alex Rivera. "This is a really special moment for me to meet her in person for the first time."
Citizen-soldiers of the National Guard have careers here in the states. From law enforcement to business to engineering, their experiences can help overseas.
"They have that area of expertise that they can help enhance the mission with doing things that are not necessarily within their army job," said Jacob Weinberg.
Their job in the Middle East is done for now. What matters today for these men and women is family.
"[They're] trying to figure out what to do now and go home with their families and go home to their lives," said Weinberg.