When Kristi Davidson got the news her husband would be coming home from his first deployment five months early, she cried.
“I didn’t tell the kids,” she said as she waited for her husband at Cooper Field early Friday morning alongside her two children, her parents and her in-laws. “If it didn’t work out, I didn’t want them to be (upset.) I knew how emotional I’d be.”
Standing in the bleachers with her mother, 17-year-old Sarah Davidson said all she felt was excitement.
“The major thing is knowing he’ll be safe,” she said.
Sgt. Michael Davidson’s family members weren’t the only ones excited Friday, as more than 120 soldiers marched across the field from 2nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, after spending four of the anticipated nine months deployed to Afghanistan.
The “Spartans” Battalion command team uncased the unit’s colors on the field, signifying its official return.
“My soldiers did a phenomenal job,” said Lt. Col. Archie Herndon, Spartan commander.
Headquartered in Bagram, Herndon said his battalion supported the brigade in three different regional commands. Elements of his engineer, intelligence and signal companies remained in Afghanistan to continue their mission.
Herndon said that while it was a short deployment, it didn’t come without challenges, or danger. First Lt. Jason Togi, of the battalion, was killed by a roadside bomb in August. Togi’s loss was the first combat-related death for the entire division in more than two years.
“It was an incredibly complex mission. ... Brigade soldiers have a lot to be proud of,” he said.
“I’m happy to get my soldiers out of Afghanistan, but at the same time, I want the entire brigade back.”
Now that he’s home, Michael Davidson said he is looking forward to getting back into his family’s routine of Friday movie night.
“This is a blessing. It’s amazing,” he said.
Even though the deployment kept the family separated, somehow they all agree they came out stronger in the end.
“I would not recommend deployment for anybody, but on the flip side, God has taken care of everything we needed and kept my husband safe,” Kristi Davidson said. “I’m thankful, because of it bringing us closer together.”
Rose L. Thayer is the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. She joined the paper in February 2011 as a health and military reporter. View her complete profile Here. You can contact Rose L. Thayer at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.