Returning National Guard soldiers reunited with, introduced to children left behind

Other soldiers reunited with children

INDIANAPOLIS - Seventy Indiana National Guard soldiers, deployed to Afghanistan in March, are back home again in Indiana.

Their arrival couldn't come soon enough for Jamie Mann, whose baby Ariana was born while her daddy was overseas.

Specialist Stephen Mann ran to hold his child for the very first time.

"It's an awesome feeling to come home and see her for the first time and actually hold her," Stephen Mann said. "It's indescribable. My first child and my first deployment."

From military duty, he'll spring right into baby duty -- solo. Mann's wife Jamie is in the army and is about to head out to training for a few weeks.

"That's the job of serving your country," said Stephen Mann. "You're going to have to make sacrifices, and I made a nine-month sacrifice, but now I'm back and reaping the rewards."

The rewards are deep rooted in all of these reunions with family. Sergeant Donny Miller had been away from his three sons as he supported operation enduring freedom.

"I'm just ready to get back and start making some memories with these guys," Miller said.

"It's pretty cool actually," said Donny Miller's son, Andy. "I can't really explain it though. I'm kind of about to cry, but I'm trying to hold it."

The Lawrence-based unit controlled more than 5,000 coalition security forces.
    
The soldiers will now report to Camp Atterbury for demobilization.

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