May 23, 2008
FORT BENNING, Ga. (WXTX)-- You would never have known it was the middle of the night as family and friends packed Freedom Hall Friday morning to welcome their soldiers home from a fifteen month deployment to Iraq.
Aislin Rutledge counted down the minutes until she would see her fiancee. She has been finalizing the details of their upcoming wedding.
"He proposed to me on March third and then he left for Iraq the next week so he has been gone for the entire time that I've had to plan the wedding. When we've talked with each other, he's just said to me, you know, whatever you want you can have it, it's your day. So those are the words every bride wants to hear," she said.
Five-year-old Amauria Rainey wasn't sleepy at all as she waited patiently for her father to return.
"Me and my mommy miss my daddy. I'm happy he's coming home," she said.
Soon enough, the plane carrying 101 3rd brigade soldiers landed and after they went through processing, the soldiers found themselves in the arms of their loved ones.
It's a bittersweet homecoming for Major Clyde Fleming as he is greeted by his fiancee.
"I'm really happy to be back. It's different because last time I was deployed as a single soldier and I just came back to my parents. This one is just as good if not better, coming home to Aislin and our big summer that we have," he added.
Amauria also found her daddy in the crowd.
"My two ladies are my heart- they hold my heart so I had to hurry up and get home. It's just a blessing to be home and see them again," said Lieutenant James Rainey of his wife and daughter.
It's a scene we've seen before but for these men and women it is this moment they and their families have been waiting for more than a year.
The last wave of 3rd Brigade troops will be returning next week.
Stay tuned to WXTX for our continuing coverage of the 3rd Brigade's homecoming.