More than 50 troops are back home after serving a year in Iraq and Kuwait. Members of the 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team returned home to various armories across the state; three were welcomed home to Palm Beach County. Family members say they couldn't have asked for a better holiday treat.
"It's such a blessing."
Those blessing rolled into the armory on Tuxedo Avenue just before 6:00 p.m. carrying some very precious cargo; brave troops who spent a year defending their country.
"All them are heroes," says one father.
Among those heroes, Sgt. First Class Matthew Newman who says he planned to surprise his loved ones with his return. But once he told his wife the news spread quickly.
"I found out the other day, I called my wife this morning and let her know," says Newman.
"It's hard to see him go but it's so much better to see him come home, " says Newman's cousin Tanya Aguiar.
This is Newman's fourth tour in "Operation Freedom." He says being home for Christmas a second year in a row comes with great appreciation.
"We were able to be here for Christmas last year and the fact the expedited our arrival for Christmas this year was really nice."
Newman's mom says for an entire year she has been on edge but is able to breathe a sigh of relief.
"I internalize all the stress and it's a relief to see him walk off that bus," says Bernadine Newman.
"Hopefully this will be his last deployment for awhile," says Robert Newman.
But Newman says he will leave again when duty calls. "I anticipate being home for awhile, but I still got a few years left so this won't be my last."
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