Army reservists return home after overseas tour

December 4, 2010 6:21:31 PM PST
Thousands of American troops will be spending this Christmas in Afghanistan but some Houston Army reservists will be back with their families. Many of them have served three tours overseas. This was a very special awards ceremony, not necessarily just about recognition, but about a sense of closure to their deployment.

"It was a great feeling knowing I was gonna be home for the holidays," said Robert Gonzalez.

It's Gonzalez's first holiday season with his wife. They were married last year but shortly after, the Army reservist was deployed. He spent one year in Afghanistan but now, he's back.

"We're having a big Christmas this year, with all the family and everybody," said his wife Troylyn Gonzalez.

These men and women are with the 453rd Transportation Company, a reserve unit, in charge of distributing supplies across war zones. 96 of them left their families behind in August 2009. About half of them had been through it before.

"With the conflict being as long as it has been -- some of us have been there two or three times," said Captain Nick Catechis.

Captain Catechis is the company commander. He and his unit spent last Thanksgiving and Christmas in the mountainous region of northern Afghanistan near the Pakistan border. While communication was tough he and his wife of three years made it work with technology and old fashioned love.

"We would write letters. We'd send emails," said Catechis' wife Emily Catechis. "We'd try to stay in touch every single day."

This year, they won't have to worry about time zones or bad phone connections. She will have him here. As will all of these families. Today, their final awards ceremony, officially releasing them of their duties.

"I just thank God every day that he's here and that he brought him home safe and I hope the others come home safe too," said Troylyn.

"I wanna say thanks to all the soldiers over there now," said Gonzalez.

"It was difficult being without him but I knew how important the mission was and that just kept us going," said Emily.

"Now it really feels like we really are home," said Captain Catechis.

The reservists have re-integrated into their jobs and lives here at home. But they still do regular weekend drills once a month. They say their hearts are certainly with those families who still have loved ones deployed this holiday.


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