FORT BRAGG, N.C. (WNCN) – About 30 soldiers returned home to Fort Bragg Tuesday night after a nine month deployment in Kuwait. They were met by a crowd of family, friends and loved ones.
Dozens waited for the First Sustainment Command to return, including family members of soldiers and fellow troops.
Young children were up way past their bedtimes; husbands and wives waited for loved ones they hadn’t seen in nearly a year.
“I thought I was prepared for this but it was harder than I thought,” said Patty Levien.
Levien moved to North Carolina with her husband, Colonel Douglas Levien, just weeks before he was deployed.
She was living in a completely new state all by herself. Well, almost by herself. Just a couple of weeks before deployment, Levien gave birth to their first child.
“I understand his job and we are proud of him,” she said. But the minute the troops walked through the door, Levien broke down to tears.She wasn’t alone. Many families and troops became emotional during the late-night homecoming.
“When you leave a spouse behind, you leave a loved one behind. We’re leaving a lot behind,” said Col. Douglas Levien.
Levien has been in the armed forces for over 20 years. Of three deployments, this was the first time he had to leave a child behind.
“The modern technology made the separation a little easier but doesn’t fill the gap completely,” he said.
Everyone on Fort Bragg’s base has the support of the community, Patty Levien says, but she admits it’s nothing like having her husband back in her life.
“It’s a great feeling. I’ve been dreaming of today and it’s finally arrived,” she said.
For the next few months, these soldiers have mandatory recovery time. They will now have time to spend with their families, but after that, they’re back to training to get ready to be deployed again.