Troops Return to Hero's Welcome

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Families, friends and onlookers cheered as members from both the 1181st Transportation Unit and 185th Aviation Group returned home after time spent in both Kuwait and Iraq.

"I can't explain it. It is awesome being here," said Army Specialist Landon Duke.

A helicopter mechanic with the 185th based in Meridian, Duke had an extra special gift in store when he greeted his wife Friday, a nine-day-old baby girl named Lanna Marie.

"It is just a great feeling," said Duke on seeing his baby for the first time.

Although Duke could not be present his daughter's birth, his wife said she made sure he had pictures of that special day.

"I e-mailed him the picture of the birth nine days ago," she said.

In addition, members from the 1181st Transportation Unit also came home Friday to greet their families after a yearlong stay in Kuwait.

"I'm just glad to be home," said Sgt. First Class Henry Scott, who spent a year in Kuwait loading and unloading military equipment.

"I'm just overjoyed to have him home and to have him return safely," said his wife, Kathy Scott.

Both fathers say coming home to be with their families is one of the best Father's Day gifts one could ever have.

Duke, who has been in Iraq for six months, will be home for just a two week leave. Then he will be back to Iraq to join his unit for another possible 18-month period.