VALLEY, AL (WTVM) - National Guard Specialist Harrison Barninger held his daughter Lexi Marie for the very first time on Monday.
"Oh, it's amazing," says Barninger.
Our team first brought the Barninger's story to you last October, when Harrison was able to witness his daughter's birth via Skype over 7,000 miles away in Afghanistan.
Monday, 45 soldiers returned home to Valley after an eleven month deployment in South Afghanistan.
They had a very successful combat mission and have returned with four purple hearts.
Harrison's wife Sarah is just happy he is back safe and their family is complete.
"It feels so good. I can't stop crying. I'm just ready to go home."
With technology, the Barninger's were able to talk everyday by telephone, emails and Skype, but nothing compares to actually holding his wife and newborn, together, for the first time.
"I've been missing her forever. I got pictures and videos and stuff, but it's not the same. No, it's not the same," explains Harrison.
Sarah says life without Harrison these past months was tough, but her advice to military families everywhere is to never give up hope.
"Being an Army wife is a struggle," said Sarah. "You got to be strong and the more support you have from everybody else, the easier it is."
Harrison plans on going back on active duty in several months, but for now he will enjoy catching up and spending quality time at home with his family.