Soldiers return home to Region 8

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – The soldiers in the 1036th and 1037th Route Clearance Companies made the final leg of their journey back home on Friday.  They left Camp Shelby, Mississippi Friday morning to make the six hour trip to Jonesboro to see their families for the first time since their deployment ended.

"It's exhilarating just seeing my family and everything.  My hearts racing, it's just an amazing feeling being home," said soldier Tyler Pickney.

It's also amazing for his family.

"I can't explain it, it's the best.  You can't get a good high like this," said Tina Beeler.

This was the first deployment for Pickney and the third for Specialist James Aytchan.

"Our mission was difficult but we were able to pull through Arkansas has a big reputation and that's pretty big shoes to fill," said Aytchan.

"The entire deployment, the only reason I signed up for was to keep them safe," said Pickney.

Seeing a big crowd waiting as they arrived back home made it all worth it.

"To see Arkansas supporters like this, it gives me a lot of pride and joy in my job," said Aytchan.

Being home also means being away from their other family, the soldiers they've spent the last year with day in and day out.

"Especially my best friend Aaron McMillan.  Me and him stuck with each other the whole time its going to be weird waking up every morning because we lived in the same tent," said Pickney.

A soldier who is now part of his family.

"We didn't really know each other until this deployment and we just kicked it off.  This guy's been attached to my hip the entire time," said Pickney.

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