FAYETTEVILLE, NC (WNCN) — The first wave of Fort Bragg paratroopers deployed to Europe earlier this year returned home on Tuesday.
More than 300 US Army paratroopers landed at Pope Army Airfield Tuesday night. They were deployed to Poland six months ago when President Joe Biden sent 5,000 Fort Bragg troops to Europe after the Russian military began encircling the Ukrainian border and staging a war. However, he said the soldiers’ mission is to assist NATO allies and not engage in combat.
Families inside Fort Bragg’s Green Ramp held welcome signs and wore patriotic outfits on Tuesday. Hundreds of loved ones eagerly await to reunite with loved ones and fellow soldiers.
“My son fell asleep. But I’m so excited,” said Janine Collins, wife of US Army Specialist Judah Collins.
Collins and her two-year-old son flew in from Dallas to welcome her husband home. She said last year’s Thanksgiving was the last time her family was together.
“It’s not easy. I’m not going to sugarcoat it, I’m not going to make it seem like it is. We have our days, especially the days when we can’t talk to them,” Collins said.
She greeted her husband with cheers, hugs and kisses.
“I’m super happy. He climbed over tables to get to me,” Collins said. “I’m super happy. My little family is together.”
CBS 17 asked US Army specialist Judah Collins how important his wife and son are to him.
Four simple words were all he needed.
“You are my everything.”
Another paratrooper, US Army Specialist David Rosado, said this was his first deployment in the Army. He said it was challenging but doable to pick up where he left off with his family.
“It’s going to be a process. So it’s about basic communication, a fresh start and starting with the basics,” said US Army Specialist Rosado.
Fort Bragg said more paratroopers will return home from Europe in the coming weeks.
https://www.cbs17.com/news/local-news/cumberland-county-news/families-welcome-first-wave-of-82nd-airborne-home-from-poland/ Families welcome the first wave of the 82nd Airborne Home from Poland