Holding their babies for the first time; the soldier's return - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Holding their babies for the first time; the soldier's return

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COVINGTON, LA (WVUE) -

It was a happy homecoming for dozens of Louisiana soldiers who returned from Kuwait.

In six cities statewide, families greeted National Guard engineers from the 844th and 1021st with big hugs, kisses and joyful tears.

They said they were ready to go if called upon again. But for now, they're happy to be home.

It was an anxious moment at the Covington armory as 5-month-old Bronwyn Crain waited for the father she's never seen.

The bus rolled up right on time, filled with guardsmen with the 1021st Engineering Company now back from Kuwait.

"Building roads, buildings, infrastructure, things like that," said Capt. Lance Cagnolatti.

But none of that matters to 5-month-old Bronwyn or mother Nicole.

"Aint' never met her yet, this is the first time I met her. This is surreal," said Specialist Brandon Crain, holding his daughter for the first time. 

Inside the armory, Specialist Jamie Bonstaff is seeing his little girl, 2-month-old Jayda, for the first time too.

"It means everything to me," said Bonstaff.

Though they've never touched their children until now, they have kept up through modern technology.

"I was actually able to Skype while she was born," said Specialist Bonstaff.

But it's not the same.

"It was difficult, but he helped as much as he could getting on facetime. Whenever she was fussy, try and talk to her and calm her down. She loves his voice," said Mrs. Brandon Crain.

These soldiers have sacrificed much being away from their families for up to a year while serving in the Middle East. Although they have ideas about recent events taking place there, they're staying pretty tight lipped.

As tensions bubble up in Iraq, Company Commander Noel Bellas says all that matters is that his company did their job in Kuwait. The country which owes it sovereignty to the U.S. which drove out the Iraqis 23-years ago.

"We keep an eye on it, but it doesn't affect us," said Capt. Noel Bellas.

"You have to think they're there for a reason. It's not policy, it's duty," said Steve Bellas, Noel's father.

For now, it's all about family.

"Just to be able to hold her, it's a different type of feeling," said Bonstaff.

"I really missed him but he had to go fight for his country," said Capt. Bellas's daughter Lainey.

Now they're back ready to respond to a different duty but ready to go again, if called.

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