FORT HOOD — When asked what he would do when he saw his father for the first time in seven months, 2-year-old Aiden Gagnon responded with his lips puckered — he wanted to give Dad a kiss.
“He missed his dad a lot,” said Olga Torres, Aiden’s grandmother. “He would hear the Skype bell on the computer and run.”
Tucked into a red hooded sweater in his mother’s lap, Aiden came to life as soon as the buses pulled up to Cooper Field carrying his father, Sgt. Scott Gagnon, 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.
The sergeant left in July for a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan, but to meet shrinking mission requirements, he returned home early in the predawn hours Tuesday morning along with about 130 other soldiers from the “Black Jack” Brigade.
During the welcome home ceremony, the brigade’s 15th Brigade Support Battalion command team uncased the unit’s colors, signifying the end of the mission.
“The mission was to support the Black Jack Brigade, in two regional commands, in Regional Command South and for a short time in Regional Command West,” said Lt. Col. Jason McGuire, battalion commander.
Overall, he said, it was a great deployment.
“Soldiers performed in an admirable fashion and I’m proud of them,” McGuire said while holding his daughter. “This is a great feeling.”
Gagnon described reuniting with Aiden as emotional. His wife, Michelle, described the morning as exciting.
“I am so excited and thrilled to be done with it all,” she said. “It’s been a long seven months.”
Another flight of about 100 Black Jack soldiers is expected at Fort Hood today, and the brigade’s 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, will uncase its colors.
More soldiers will continue to arrive through the end of the month, until about half of the brigade is home. The remainder is expected in March.
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 email@example.com or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.