WEST FORT HOOD — Just days before Christmas, 140 transportation soldiers returned home three months early from Afghanistan on Sunday, elated to celebrate the holidays with their families and friends.
The 418th Transportation Company, 553rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command, spent seven months performing nontraditional missions.
Capt. Mark Canary, company commander, called the deployment a great success.
“We were the last transportation company to leave,” with the unit closing down Regional Command West, he said.
“We convoyed more than 90,000 miles, completed 26 missions ... and contributed to the retrograde of Afghanistan,” he said.
Pam Goodman sat with her husband, daughter, Jennifer Freeman, and grandchildren, Peyton, 6, and Jacob, 18 months, awaiting the arrival of her son-in-law, Sgt. Justin Freeman.
The deployment was not easy for the family, Goodman said, but the children were able to video chat with their dad.
“That made it a lot easier,” Jennifer Freeman said. “(Jacob) started walking and talking while he was gone.”
Erika Snell and her four children waited patiently for her husband, Staff Sgt. Jason Snell, who was immediately promoted from sergeant upon arriving at the West Fort Hood Physical Fitness Center.
“He’s been doing schooling (during the deployment),” she said, proud to see him earn his new rank and delighted to have him home for Christmas. This was the couple’s third deployment together, but the first with four kids.
“It’s harder,” she said. “It’s not easy. They miss him.”
Luckily, the Snells are from Dallas and family was never too far to provide support.
Immediately following the ceremony, Erika Snell was excited to get the whole family home.
First Sgt. Carla Glover-Robinson’s family, including her husband, sister, brother-in-law and two nieces, wore matching shirts to welcome her back to Fort Hood.
“We did an outstanding job — I couldn’t be more proud,” she said, noting there were no incidents during the deployment. “It’s great to be home, especially at Christmas,” Glover-Robinson said, as the group prepared to head home.