40 Florida Army National Guard Soldiers Return Home
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It was quite a homecoming for the Florida families of the Florida Army National Guard’s 856th Quartermaster Support Company.
Approximately 40 soldiers from the Immokalee based company returned home Sunday after a deployment to Afghanistan.
The soldiers began arriving Sunday afternoon in small groups at six different airports throughout the state: Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa, Orlando, Fort Myers, and Jacksonville.
A wife stood in Miami International Airport in tears and a mother rushed past the airport security line to welcome home a hero.
“I couldn’t hold back, I couldn’t hold back. I’m gonna faint, I’m gonna pass out,” said Army mom Joy Clarke-Brown.
Sergeant Geoffrey Clarke was just one of the many soldiers that received an emotional group hug from family and friends after a nine month stint in overseas.
“Since he’s gone it’s like everything is in shambles, my life is like I can’t sleep at night, I’m a nervous wreck,” said Clarke about her son. “The best part of him coming home is that I’m gonna see him whole, one piece.”
Sgt. Clarke’s wife, Laura Clarke, felt the same way. He was deployed just two months after getting married.
“I think this is his biggest accomplishment so I’m glad he got through it safe and sound,” said Clarke.
Friends, family and loved ones are the ones who helped the soldiers get through their tough times overseas.
“They helped me get through it, it was really hard. Some days were depressing some days were ups and downs,” said Sgt. Geoffrey Clarke.
“I feel relieved that everyone’s back from our unit,” said Captain Justo Garcia. “We brought all our soldiers back glad to be back with our families.”
Captain Garcia just bought a new home with his wife, so his first stop after landing is to check out his new digs.
“We’re very, very excited for this day to have finally arrived,” said Captain Garcia’s wife, Jenny .
Many of the soldiers said what they missed the most, other than family, were Miami sports.
The group kept up with the White Hot Heat while they were gone and made it back in time to watch a possible win.
“We’re just in time to see them win Game 7 so were excited to do that,” said Captain Garcia.
The 856th Quartermaster Support Company left Florida last August for active service to Afghanistan, where they provided logistical support for coalition forces in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.