Lubbock Welcomes U.S. Army Reservists Home from Iraq - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/4/04

Lubbock Welcomes U.S. Army Reservists Home from Iraq

A roar of happy cheers from loved ones was the sweetest sound Specialist Gabriel Arizona and his fellow soldiers have heard in over a year.

"I was like, yup that's my family there. I heard them screaming, it was great," says Spec. Arizona.

"I heard everyone clapping and it sent chills up my back," says Sgt. Jeremy Black.

Roses, hugs, and kisses...emotional evidence that their time at war overseas has finally come to an end.

"I really didn't know what to say. It'd been a year since I'd seen him and it was a shock," says Jeff Carr, who's brother served in Iraq.

For married couple Jennifer and Jeremy Black, the time apart took its toll, making their reunion almost dream-like.

"I just wanted to touch him, make sure he was real that he really was here," says Jennifer.

A good feeling for all families who say the 12 month deployment has been like an emotional roller coaster.

"Every time something would happen in the news, we were praying to God it wasn't him because we knew there were a lot of casualties that happened during the war and everything," says Rudy Arizona, Gabriel's father.

Prayers from proud parents thankfully answered.

"It's been almost a year that we have seen him. We're just glad that he's home. We're all excited and I'm just glad he finally made it home and we've been praying for this for a whole year and it finally got here," says Gabriel's mother, Gina Arizona.

For these soldiers watching another country gain its freedom made a year of sacrifice well worth it.

"I think our job there was a great one and probably a necessity. It we didn't do it now we'd probably end up doing it later on eventually anyway so it's great we did it," says Spec. Arizona.

Dozens more members of the 413th Civil Affairs Battalion are still in Iraq, but some will continue to return home to Lubbock within the next couple of months.

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