Guam – It was a weekend to celebrate for a number of families as 280 of the 600 Guam National Guard Members who deployed to Afghanistan last year returned home.
Many families greeted their soldiers as they got off the plane at the South Ramp Apron of the AB Won Pat International Airport shortly after midnight Sunday.
While Sgt Mark Garcia’s wife Doreen was there to welcome him home, they waited until Sunday afternoon to let his three sons and his parents know he was back on Guam.
“I faked a trip really it was to actually to pick him up at the airport and had the boys plan their own barbecue,” Doreen Garcia explained to PNC. “It’s their surprise.”
PNC was present for the surprise, but Doreen had told the family it was for a story about how the family planned to welcome Mark home later this month.
“Daddy,” one of the boys tearfully said while hugging his father. “Is it really you?”
At the airport Sunday morning, Governor Eddie Calvo was among those greeting our heroes.
“What a way to start the New Year and what a Christmas present not only for their families of the soldiers but for all the people of Guam,” the Governor said while waiting for the plane to land. “We’re glad to see them back now its time for them to get back with their families.”
Specialist Randal Lizama said it was his family that kept him going throughout the nearly year-long deployment.
“Everything I did I did it for them,” Lizama said while holding his boy.
“Either I’m gonna hug my wife and kiss her or she’s gonna do it first,” Sgt Christian Concepcion said when asked what he was thinking during the flight from Camp Shelby Mississippi to Guam. “Just that good feeling.”
But no matter how sweet the reunion, none of the members of 1-294th Infantry Regiment have forgotten those who won’t be coming home.
“We lost two of our guys which was a sad thing but uh we’re just happy most of us made it home safely and God bless our fallen” said Specialist Roderick Ngirmekur.