SD Soldiers Return Home
by Breanna Fuss, Reporter
December 17, 2013 9:49 PM
For a number of families across South Dakota for the first time in months, everyone is under one roof. Tuesday, 68 soldiers with the South Dakota Army National Guard returned home.
For the men and women of the 152nd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, Tuesday has been a long time coming. The unit has been in Afghanistan for the past five months to support Operation Enduring Freedom.
If you didn't know any better you would have thought the T.F Riggs High School gym in Pierre was filled with music and people for a special basketball game. But this gathering took place because, ‘the boys are back in town.’
Nearly 70 soldiers are back from serving in the Middle East, and one of them is Sgt. Kyle Kafka.
"This is my third deployment," Sgt. Kafka said. "The first one I didn't have kids, the second one my wife was pregnant with my daughter, and now we have this one."
The unit left in July for Afghanistan to help provide troops already out there with combat support and services. Although it’s hard being away, Sgt. Kafka said it's a lot easier to keep in touch now, compared to 10 years ago.
"You would get a 10 minute phone call once a week, and now you can Skype, email, Facetime," Kafka said.
But nothing compares to seeing his family face to face, especially when it comes as a surprise.
"I just went and got her out of school at about 1 o'clock," Kafka said. "I walked into the classroom and she was surprised, she thought it was going to be another two days."
And, two hours later, 6-year-old Brylee was still too surprised to talk.
Breanna Fuss asked," How excited are you to have your dad home?" Brylee nods her head yes.
Kyle’s wife Jeannie said the past few months have had their ups and downs, especially being a mom of two.
Jeannie said, "You just try to have fun and not think about too much."
But now that Kyle is home she said things will be a lot easier. And as for Kyle, besides sledding with Brylee and her 2-year-old brother Barron, he said he has a more personal plan for his first night home.
"Not to be selfish, but we will probably go to the Cattleman's and get a prime rib," Kyle said
The soldiers returned back to the United States on Dec. 10. They were in Fort Hood, Texas finishing demobilization requirements. They arrived back in Pierre Tuesday morning.
Kyle said his company most likely won't be deployed again for another five years.