Despite chilly weather, Jamie Williams eagerly waited outside on Cooper Field for her sister, Sgt. Kate Jackson.
Jackson was among 100 soldiers from 1st Cavalry Division’s 3rd Brigade Armored Combat Team returning Friday morning from a nine-month deployment to Kuwait and Iraq.
“Today is her 40th birthday.” said Williams “She has two children and I know they will be excited to see her.”
Williams was the main care giver for Jackson’s 13-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son during the deployment.
“They have missed her terribly,” Williams said.
The Grey Wolf soldiers provide fire support, advise, train and support to operation Inherent Resolve in the fight against the Islamic State group. More than 3,000 soldiers deployed, and are in the process of returning.
Kristin Shaffer held a welcome home sign as she waited for her fiancee Capt. Stephen Milligan.
“We get married on Dec. 2. I did all the wedding planning all by myself,” Shaffer said, overjoyed by her fiancee’s return. “I’m going to cry like a baby, I am so excited to have him home.”
For Sgt. Neyahna Strozier this was not her first deployment. She sat in the stands waiting for her husband, Spc Strozier.
“I deployed first to Afghanistan in August 2016 then he deployed in the middle of my deployment. We have been apart for 14 months.” said Strozier. “It’s been rough but we are ready for the challenge, we love what we do.”
Victoria Rojas husband is Capt. Ricardo Rojas.
“I am extremely excited about seeing him because the last time he was here, our baby was 3 months old. A lot has changed and we are excited to have him back, nothing has been the same since he has been gone,” Rojas said.
Nancy Rojas and Paul Rojas are Capt. Ricardo Rojas’s parents. They were also there waiting to see him.
“I am very happy,” Nancy Rojas said with tears in her eyes.
The wait was finally over about 10 a.m. Friday, as buses arrived with troops from Grey Wolf Team to the parade field in front of the 1st Calvary Division headquarters. All the families cheered.
Division deputy commander of maneuver, Col. Hank Taylor, ordered the colors to be retired, and then dismissed the troops to their families.
Victoria Rojas found her husband on the field.
“It’s great to be home,” Capt. Rojas said. “We definitely worked hard in Kuwait, we did some amazing training. This is the moment I have been waiting for a long time. I am happy to be back and to finally be with my daughter.”
“I feel relieved, everything can go back to normal; he’s safe, he is here.” said Victoria Rojas.
“I am so glad my son is back,” said Nancy Rojas.
Many homecoming ceremonies are planned for the Grey Wolf team in the coming weeks after deploying in support of Operation Spartan Shield. According to a 1st Cavalry Division spokesman, about 1,000 — or 30 percent — of the brigade is now home.