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FORT HOOD — The last of the III Corps soldiers deployed to Afghanistan are back at Fort Hood, following an early morning homecoming Sunday.
Lt. Gen. Mark A. Milley, commander of III Corps and Fort Hood, traveled with about 30 troops to greet families and friends at III Corps headquarters.
Sgt. Justin Grissom was welcomed home by a trio of supportive women — his wife, mother and mother-in-law.
“This one has been really peaceful,” said Justin Grissom’s mother, Sharon Grissom, acknowledging her response is not typical of parents of deployed soldiers. “I’ve just known he’s going to be OK.”
This was the second deployment for the sergeant and his wife, Katy Grissom.
During her husband’s first deployment, she went into labor the day he joined her in Texas on mid-tour leave. Together, the couple have a 3-year-old son, Grady.
Since he has been gone, Katy Grissom missed date nights and having a second parent for their son.
“It’ll be nice to have help handling the craziness at home,” she said. During the past 10 months, the roof on their home had to be replaced and the car transmission went out.
She also struggled to explain to her toddler why “daddy” couldn’t come home whenever he wanted.
“He asks for him all the time,” she said.
Thankfully, family was never far out of reach for the two. With Katy Grissom’s mother in Waco and her in-laws within a few hours, Grady was able to spend time with his grandparents while his father was away.
“I couldn’t have made it through this without my family,” Katy Grissom said.
Milley offered brief remarks before the soldiers and families reunited.
“It’s great to be back here at the greatest place,” he said. “The mission is complete. The transfer of authority is complete.”
During the 10-month deployment, Milley served as commander of the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command.
Despite the boisterous crowd before him, Milley solemnly acknowledged the sacrifices of war, including four soldiers killed and more than 50 wounded from Fort Hood during this war.
“Never forget the cost of protecting the United States against terrorists,” he said.
Now that the Grissom family is reunited, they’ll be making up for missed time.
“We have a daddy-do list,” Katy Grissom said. She wrote down everything her son told her he wanted to do with his father upon his return. “The first thing is: Play with his trains.”
The Grissom clan also will celebrate Christmas together next weekend.
“We’re just ready to have him home,” said mother-in-law Lori Killough. “We’ve left all our Christmas decorations up.”