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Sunday, September 15, 2013 - 10:45pm
Fort Bliss, TX (KDBC) — A group of soldiers have returned to the Borderland after being deployed for nine months in Afghanistan. This is the same unit that lost 10 of their own while overseas.
It was a hug, a kiss, and most times a tearful embrace as El Paso families gathered inside the Biggs Airfield building to welcome their soldiers’ home. "So yeah, we're excited! I can't wait to see him. I'm like smiling and grinning,” Melissa Aguirre told us, giggling. Like many families in the room, Aguirre has been adjusting to life without her husband. "There's [sic] good days and bad days. But, you know, we survived and we missed him every day but we did good [sic]."
The time apart was just as challenging for the men and women in Afghanistan. “We had Skype and we had Tango and online but nothing's… it's not the same, you know, face-to-face,” SSG Nicholas Paugam said. Paugam has been away so long he did not get a chance to meet his children; until Sunday. "I’m very excited. My family's here."
Staff Sergeant B Antonio Bustion has also been reunited with his kids. "My two-year-old daughter is here, you know what I'm saying, and she doesn't even remember dad,” Bustion explained to us with his toddler daughter on his shoulders. "I don't think she realized who I was. I lost 60 pounds on deployment so she just kind of looked at me like hmmm."
For the many families who have been reunited, there are ten who will not see their loved one again. "The loss of a soldier is hard on everybody,” SSG Robert Brown explained. Ten soldiers from this unit lost their lives in Afghanistan.
"They're gone but they'll never be forgotten from anyone in 1/1,” SSG Paugam told us. And their work to keep this country safe will remain with all of these families in El Paso.
For the families who have lost a soldier in war, Fort Bliss officials said they provide many services to help these families get back on their feet.