Joyous Lewis-McChord soldiers return home in time for holidays

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - One hundred soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord returned home for the holidays Sunday, bringing families together after nine months apart.

"We have a baby due the first of January," said Cassie Pierce as she waited anxiously for her soldier husband.

It's been a long wait for her - and many other families at the U.S. military base near Tacoma.

"I am waiting for my husband, Tony," says another Army wife.

Their loved ones - their soldiers - have been gone in Afghanistan for nearly a year.

But on Sunday that wait finally came to an end.

"He's the only thing I want for Christmas this year - and I know I'm going to get it," said another spouse.

And as the anticipation hits a climax, a curtain rises, cheers break through the tension - and 100 men and women from Joint Base Lewis-McChord's Second Stryker Brigade are back home.

They're the last big group of soldiers to come home from Afghanistan just in time for the holidays. And this is the moment they all waited for.

Fathers greeted sons and daughter - husbands and wives were reunited.

"I'm so happy to have him home safe and sound right before Christmas," says one wife.

Spec. Jared Siple, just home from Afghanistan, saw his little daughter walking for the first time.

"She's standing up, she's got teeth - and it's all to my wife. Bless her heart, she did a lot of hard work while I was gone," he says.

For many this homecoming is similar to the day these soldiers deployed - but today tears of sadness are tears of joy.

A happy heroes' welcome - finally home for the holidays.