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Dec 13, 2012 6:58 PM by Lorraine Rivera

Soldiers home in time for holidays

TUCSON - Christmas came early for dozens of Fort Huachuca soldiers as members of the 11th Theater Tactical Signal Brigade returned to post after an 11-month deployment to Afghanistan.

The 60 men and women arrived late Thursday morning to hundreds of family, friends and fellow soldiers.

Steve Curtis said his wife deployed six months ago. "It's been pretty tough with two little ones you know, that separation is always hard," he said.

Curtis said his children, 2-year-old Clara and 14-month-old Patrick managed well without their mom. "We had a calendar set up so we could count down the days until mom came home to build some anticipation, and of course Skype and talking on the phone with mom any chance she gets, and just letting her know that mom is going to come home," he said.

The soldiers held in formation at the ceremony, and upon dismissal, Major Terry Curtis ran to her children. "Oh my gosh, beyond words," she said. "My heart was just bursting with joy to see them."

Also on hand at the arrival ceremony were members of the Patriot Guard Riders, veterans who ride their motorcycles and hold American flags. "We're out here to support the soldiers," said Lorenzo Mata, the group's captain. "We're honored. We've been asked by the command to come down here and support the soldiers of the 11th signal brigade that are coming in from Afghanistan."

The soldiers are scheduled to enjoy a 30-day block leave before returning to full, regular duty.

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