FORT HOOD — Alissa Kirkpatrick held her 6-month-old son, Corben, as she waited for her husband to see him for the first time after returning from a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan. Amid the silence of two battalions’ uncasing their colors, symbolizing the official end of their tour, Kirkpatrick’s 2-year-old daughter, Sophia, yelled out, “Daddy, daddy.”
“It was really tough (being away from my family). I focused on my job mostly and night was when you miss them the most,” said Pvt. Michael Kirkpatrick, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, during a homecoming ceremony Tuesday at Cooper Field.
“The whole deployment, as soon as I got on the bus, was a blur. It went so fast. When I finally got back, it was a relief.”
Kirkpatrick was among about 165 soldiers in the 2nd Battalion and 115 soldiers in the 5th Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, who returned after a security force assistance mission overseas..
“They advised and assisted the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police, just to transition security to them,” said Capt. Tom Herman, 2nd Battalion’s rear detachment commander. Herman was in Afghanistan for the first six months of the deployment.
“There was a lot of progress. We were able to turn over a lot of the things that we normally do as far as security goes, like taking control of roads,” he said.
Now that he’s home, Kirkpatrick looks forward to spending time with his wife and kids.
“I’m going to sit on my couch and watch this little guy,” he said, as he held Corben in his arms.
Alissa Kirkpatrick said her husband’s first deployment was hard, but the couple talked on the phone every other day as well as via Skype, where Michael Kirkpatrick got to see his family’s faces and see his newborn son smile.
“The kids are his for the next month,” Alissa Kirkpatrick said. “I’ll take a vacation.”