250 Fort Knox soldiers return from Afghanistan to cheering crowd - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Fort Knox soldiers return from Afghanistan to cheering family, friends

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FORT KNOX, KY (WAVE) - It was a moment months in the making as hundreds of soldiers reunited with their families and friends early Wednesday morning at Fort Knox.

Around 4:15 a.m., 250 1st Infantry Division Soldiers with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team returned from Afghanistan to a cheering crowd inside the Natcher Physical Fitness Center on base.

For Shamara Bowden, 4, the day involved a very early start, all for a moment she and her mother Chaquetta had been awaiting for months.

"I woke her up; got her dressed. She went back to sleep. I woke her up to get in the car and she went back to sleep. Then I had to tote her in here," said Bowden with a smile. "We're just glad that he's back."

Hugs, kisses and tears welcomed the brigade home. For some of the soldiers, the celebration included introductions.

"This is my second child," said Specialist Pullan. "She was born about two weeks after I left."

For others, the occasion provided a chance to begin catching up.

"The more and more you deploy," began Staff Sergeant Laflin, "I guess the easier it gets on the time but it'll never get any easier being away from my family."

Many of the people gathered to welcome the soldiers home shared that sentiment.

"There are no words to express how thrilled we are that he is coming home safe," said Janet Cianella.

Cianella and her husband traveled from Melbourne, Florida to surprise their son, Danny, at the Fort Knox homecoming.

"He's a combat medic," said Cianella. "We're just so proud of him!"

During their time overseas, the brigade assisted Afghan security, government and police forces in their transition to becoming more independent in the southern Afghan province of Zabul.

While the homecoming celebration was joyous for many, not all of the soldiers returned home Wednesday. Additional soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team are expected to continue returning in small groups of about 20 through May of 2014.

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