FORT DRUM -- Just a week before Christmas, Natasha Huff said she had not told her two children that her husband, Sgt. 1st Class Shawn Huff, was returning home from Kuwait.
The two will head down to Virginia to see them just before the holiday.
"He'll be their biggest Christmas gift," she said.
Mrs. Huff said her husband's deployment over the last nine months meant he was away for key moments for their children Brandee, 9, and Aaron, 4.
"It was tough missing him for soccer games, practices, swim meets," Mrs. Huff said. "He missed all of that."
Sgt. Huff said he thought the upcoming reunion this weekend with his children would be emotional.
"I'm looking forward to seeing them, and they're looking forward to seeing me," he said.
Sgt. Huff was one of the approximately 65 soldiers from the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 548th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion that returned to the post on Monday evening. The soldiers spent their time overseas providing logistical support and overseeing about 1,100 soldiers spread out across the region, including Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Qatar.
"We were a power projection platform that enabled maneuver units to push up north in the fight against ISIS," said Lt. Col. Anthony Wilson Sr., the battalion's commander.
He said the battalion's work also included training on convoy protection and managing Army watercraft. Soldiers attached to the battalion also supported aerial deliveries for operations in Afghanistan.
The deployment is the sixth for the battalion's headquarters since Sept. 11, 2001.
"To get home before the holidays is a perfect ending to a very successful deployment," Col. Wilson said.
For Staff Sgt. Yesenia Corey, her second deployment was the first without her husband, 1st Sgt. Chad R. Corey. The two previously deployed together to Iraq.
"It was challenging, but we came out stronger," she said.
The first sergeant arrived at the Magrath Sports Complex gym in civilian clothes, which he said allowed him to "show more emotion" during the ceremony.
Staff Sgt. Corey said she initially did not think her unit would be stateside until January. The nine months apart meant they missed several holiday celebrations, and their anniversary.
"It's good to be home for at least one of the holidays," she said.
--This article is written by Gordon Block from Watertown Daily Times, N.Y. and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to email@example.com.